“California DMV investigators work to protect consumers from crimes like odometer rollback schemes and the fraudulent sales of vehicles. Their investigations lead to arrests and prosecutions.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
SAN FRANCISCO –On October 27, 2021, Ramil Heydarov, 31, and Orkhan Aliyev, 32, both of San Jose, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges related to a scheme to defraud buyers of vehicles on the Craigslist website by rolling back the odometers on vehicles before reselling them. A third defendant, Seymur Khalilov, 32, also of San Jose, pleaded guilty to fraud conspiracy on October 12, 2021.
According to the defendants’ plea agreements, from at least October 2017 through December 2020, the three conspired to purchase high-mileage vehicles, roll back the odometers, and falsify documentation to make the vehicles appear newer. Specifically, the co-conspirators altered the odometers of numerous vehicles and altered registrations and titles, among other items, to fraudulently decrease the mileage readings of the vehicles and, thus, increase their sales value.
The co-conspirators then posted advertisements of the vehicles on Craigslist to advertise the vehicles to victims who were not aware of the fraudulent alterations. Additionally, the defendants admitted using doctored driver’s licenses containing their photograph but the names of prior vehicle owners to facilitate the sale of these vehicles. The co-conspirators each acknowledged that the goal of the conspiracy was to sell vehicles to victims for an increased price based on the fraudulent odometer readings. According to the plea agreements, the co-conspirators sold at least 78 vehicles with rolled back odometer readings, resulting in a total loss to the victims of greater than $550,000.
All three defendants were charged in a single criminal complaint filed on May 3, 2021, and each was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349. In addition, the defendants each have agreed as part of their plea agreements to pay restitution to the victims of the conspiracy in amounts reflecting the defendant’s respective role in the conspiracy:
- Khalilov has agreed to pay restitution in an amount between $360,000 and $534,072 that will be set by the court.
- Heydarov agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $379,235
- and Aliyev agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $196,578.
Sentencing is scheduled for February 4, 2022. In addition to restitution, the conspiracy charge carries a maximum statutory prison term of up to 20 years and a $250,000 fine. The court also may order a term of supervised release to follow the prison term.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Leif Dautch and Ankur Shingal are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Marina Ponomarchuk and Soana Katoa. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the California Department of Motor Vehicles Investigations Division in Vallejo, the San Ramon Police Department, and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration Office of Odometer Fraud Investigations.