A suburban Philadelphia used-car dealership has agreed to pay $80,000 in civil penalties for improper preparation of dealer reassignment forms, which provide such information as vehicle identification numbers and odometer readings.
John Altimari Auto Co. in Langhorne, Pa., agreed to pay the penalty and adhere to a permanent court injunction requiring employees to be trained in record keeping and disclosure requirements, according to Frank Burger, assistant U.S. attorney general in charge of the civil division in the Philadelphia office.
The suit was brought after an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminis-tration's odometer fraud staff discovered 51 instances in which the Altimari operation failed to prepare properly the dealer reassignment forms for cars purchased by Altimari and resold to used-car dealers in New Jersey.
Certain portions of those forms were intentionally left blank so the New Jersey dealers could fill in false information, said Richard Morse, chief of NHTSA's odometer fraud staff.
Those dealerships rolled back the odometers and filled in the names of fictitious dealerships on the reassignment forms so the fraud could not be traced, according to Morse. The complaint did not allege the Altimari dealership rolled back odometers, a federal crime.
'It was all paperwork violations,' said Morse.
Morse said the Altimari dealership was reaping substantial profits in the operation.