Crime

These Long Beach men altered odometers on more than 200 used cars across the Coast, officials say

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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

Two Long Beach men pleaded guilty Wednesday for tampering with odometers on more than 200 cars, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Oscar M. Baine, 41, admitted that he purchased “high-mileage” vehicles and altered the odometers to show low mileage. Baine said he paid Jeffrey Lyn Savarese II, 35, and others to alter the odometers at his used car lot in Gulfport, according to the release. Baine then sold the vehicles for inflated prices.

Savarese admitted to authorities that he began altering odometers for used car dealers in Mississippi and Louisiana back in 2011. He reset odometers on at least 200 cars, officials say.

Baine said he orchestrated at least 387 roll backs between 2011 and 2014, resulting in more than $600,000 in consumer losses. He also admitted to altering titles so that the mileage appeared more than 100,000 miles less than the vehicle’s actual mileage.

Odometer fraud results in more than $1 billion annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Sentencing hearings for both men have been set for Oct. 17.

Britneé Davis is McClatchy’s South Region Digital Producer. The south region includes the Sun Herald, the Telegraph, and the Ledger-Enquirer.
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