Two Mississippi men sentenced for roles in automotive fraud scheme

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Two Long Beach men were sentenced on Wednesday for their roles in a long-running odometer tampering scheme.

Oscar M. Baine, 42, was sentenced to serve 36 months in prison and ordered to pay $619,200 in restitution.

Jeffrey Lyn Savarese II, 36, was sentenced to serve 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $320,000 in restitution.

Both men pleaded guilty in July 2019 to conspiracy to alter odometers.

Baine also pleaded guilty to odometer tampering.

As part of his guilty plea, Baine admitted that he purchased high-mileage vehicles from wholesale automobile auctions, dealerships, and individuals, and arranged to alter the vehicles’ odometers to reflect false, lower-mileage readings. Baine admitted that he paid Savarese and others to change or alter odometers at his used car lot in Gulfport. Baine then sold the rolled-back vehicles to unsuspecting consumers for inflated prices. He also admitted that he and a co-conspirator caused at least 387 vehicles to be rolled back between 2011 and 2014, which resulted in consumer losses of more than $600,000. Savarese admitted that he began altering odometers for Mississippi and Louisiana used-car dealers in 2011 and reset the odometers on at least 200 used vehicles for Baine.

The United States Department of Justice

“The Department of Justice has long been committed to prosecuting automobile dealers, wholesalers, and mechanics who defraud consumers by selling vehicles with unlawfully altered odometers,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “Vehicle mileage is critical to consumers who rely on that information to evaluate the value and safety of a used vehicle.”

“These criminals not only defrauded hundreds of people but they directly put families and the general public at risk,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst of the Southern District of Mississippi. “We will continue to do all that we can to protect our citizens from fraudsters who endanger others just to make a quick buck.” 

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