April 30, 2013 in City

Brothers accused of odometer scheme

Prosecutors say men sold altered cars on Craigslist
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Federal agents accused two brothers of rolling back odometers on used cars to trick Craigslist shoppers and turn a profit. One of the men pleaded guilty to a similar felony fraud three years ago.

Both brothers are jailed and one, Tam Q. Do, 36, is on an immigration hold. He is from Vietnam.

The other, Minh Q. Do, 39, is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Both were indicted on 18 felonies that reach back to January, when they are suspected of finding and buying used cars on Craiglist and then rolling back the odometers to make it appear to prospective buyers that the cars had fewer miles, according to charges filed in U.S. District Court.

The Do brothers would then forge their own names on the title documents that reflected the new odometer readings. Based on the lower mileages, the brothers would then advertise the altered cars on Craigslist and sell them for a profit, according to court records.

In one case, according to authorities, the brothers drove to Priest River, Idaho, on Jan. 22 and bought a 2002 Toyota Camry. The seller told the brothers that the car’s “check engine” light was activated and the car had about 240,000 miles on the odometer. The brothers then took the car to Spokane, rolled the odometer back to 118,000 miles and advertised the car on Craigslist saying it was in “excellent condition.” A buyer purchased the car a week later for $6,150, according to court records.

The indictment indicates the brothers collected $17,130 during four months of buying and reselling cars with tampered odometers.

Tam Do, also known as “Tom, Kevin and Tony” Do, faces one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, five counts of wire fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft and three counts of odometer fraud.

Minh Do, also known as “Andy” Do, faces one count of wire fraud, four counts of aggravated identity theft and two counts of odometer fraud. The wire fraud charges carry a maximum prison term of 20 years.

Federal prosecutors indicted Tam Do on 10 similar charges in 2007. Of those, Do pleaded guilty in 2010 to one count each of altering an odometer, aggravated identity theft and mail fraud.

He was sentenced to time served on all charges.

U.S. District Court Judge Lonny Suko also ordered Do to pay $45,000 in restitution to 11 car buyers. They were from Spokane, North Idaho and Libby, Mont.

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