Clovis man busted in Craigslist odometer tampering scheme

December 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A bizarre odometer tampering scheme lands a 30-year-old Clovis man behind bars.

Investigators from the Department of Motor Vehicles arrested Joseph Charles Hill IV on December 12th. He faces 33 criminal counts and was booked into the Fresno County Jail on Grand Theft Charges.

Investigators say he worked as an unlicensed car dealer and duped about a hundred unsuspecting buyers. Tom Wilson, the DMV Investigations Area Commander said, "Buys on Craigslist and then he brings them back, adjusts the mileage, and then puts them back on Craigslist for sale with a significantly reduced figure."

Wilson said Hill used a handheld computer programmer to roll back the odometers on GM and GMC trucks that he'd purchased online.

One of his customers contacted the DMV last summer, saying he'd purchased a vehicle and then ran a report on CARFAX, only to discover the odometer had been fixed and was in excess of 163,000 miles. Investigators opened a case and found multiple victims. Some of the odometers had been rolled back more than 225,000 miles. Wilson said, "When you roll back the odometer it can significantly decrease or increase the value of that vehicle at the time of sale people are more interested in buying a vehicle with lower mileage than they are with higher mileage."

There are nine confirmed victims, but investigators believe Hill bought more than 90 trucks on Craigslist, which leads them to believe there are dozens of unsuspecting victims.

Anyone who bought a GMC or GM truck from Hill within the past year is urged to contact the DMV Investigations office at 559-488-4024. They're specifically looking for people who have models between 1999 and 2006.

Wilson said, "We highly recommend anytime you're gonna purchase a vehicle, do the research, run the VIN and find out where it's been and what the mileage has been."


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