Norfolk man pleads guilty to rolling back odometers to get more money from used cars

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk man could get up to five years in prison for a coordinated scheme of rolling back odometers on used vehicles before reselling them to purchasers for inflated prices.

47-year-old Lawson W. Basnight pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit odometer tampering and securities fraud, according to a release from the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office.

READ: Guilty Plea | Charges against Basnight

To pull off the operation, Basnight would pose online as a used car dealer and tell the seller to leave the assignment portion of the vehicle’s title blank. Basnight would then have another person roll back the odometer on the vehicle before creating a title application with the new odometer readings, according to court documents.

Purchasers would then fork over much more for the vehicles than they would otherwise. This all went on over a six-year period, from September 2010 through October 2016.

Basnight’s sentencing is scheduled for May 16 in Norfolk.

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