NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A Virginia Beach man pleaded guilty Thursday to falsifying documents that rolled back odometers on used-cars for a Chesapeake dealership.
Steven Bazemore, 33, is a former employee of the Norfolk Commissioner of Revenue. He pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Norfolk to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. The Norfolk Commissioner of Revenue’s office is a contractor of the Department of Motor Vehicles to conduct select DMV services, including titling.
Related Coverage: Former Norfolk DMV clerk to plead guilty in odometer scheme
Bazemore admitted to creating at least 76 Virginia motor vehicle titles with false, low mileage readings for a co-conspirator who was a licensed salvage dealer. The co-conspirator then used the fraudulent titles to sell many of the vehicles for inflated prices, paying Bazemore in cash.
Court documents listed an example in which Bazemore issued DMV paperwork stating that a 2003 Honda sedan’s odometer read close to 85,000 miles, when in fact the vehicle had at least 243,000 miles.
The scheme went on from about January of 2010 to about September of 2013.
Bazemore could be facing a sentence up to five years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for August 31.
“This defendant abused his public position to assist a large odometer tampering scheme by issuing fraudulent vehicle titles,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We will continue to prosecute individuals who commit and assist others in committing odometer fraud.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of Odometer Fraud Investigation, who investigated the case, estimates that odometer fraud in the United States results in consumer losses of more than $1 billion annually.
Those who have information about any odometer tampering are asked to call 800-424-9393 or 202-366-4761.