SAN FRANCISCO – Seymur Khalilov, Ramil Heydarov, and Orkhan Aliyev all were sentenced today to 24 months, 20 months, and 20 months in custody, respectively, for their roles in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud, announced United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds, Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Tatum King, and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair. The sentences were handed down by the Hon. Susan Illston, United States District Judge.
The defendants pleaded guilty to the charge in October 2021. According to the plea agreements, between 2016 and May 2021, Khalilov, 32; Heydarov, 31; and Aliyev, 32, all of San Jose, conspired to purchase high-mileage vehicles, roll back the odometers, and falsify documentation to make the vehicles appear newer. The co-conspirators then allegedly sold the vehicles on Craigslist at significant profits. The defendants admitted they fraudulently sold at least 78 vehicles in this way for a total of at least $550,000.
Judge Illston sentenced the defendants as follows:
Judge Illston has not yet scheduled a date for a hearing to determine Khalilov’s restitution. In addition, Judge Illston ordered that victims of the scheme have one year from the date of judgment to come forward to seek restitution; any forfeited monies remaining after that period will be forfeited to the United States.
According to the defendants’ plea agreements, from at least October 2017 through December 2020, Khalilov, Heydarov, and Aliyev 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 government’s sentencing memorandum provides additional details of the scheme. For example, the memorandum provides an example of how Khalilov altered an odometer on a vehicle so that the mileage was reduced from 35,000 to 35 miles. The co-conspirators also admitted they 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. Evidence in the case demonstrated Aliyev possessed multiple driver’s licenses with the same photograph but different people’s names. 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 between $550,000 and $1 million.
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.
They each pleaded guilty to the charge.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that odometer fraud in the United States results in consumer losses of more than $1 billion annually. When purchasing a vehicle, Homeland Security Investigations recommends that people protect themselves by taking the following steps:
• Purchase your own vehicle-history report prior to purchasing a car and compare the mileage on the report to the advertised mileage.
• Check the seller’s physical identification card or driver license and ensure it matches the information on the vehicle’s pink slip.
• Avoid using cash, when possible. Cashier’s checks and other payment methods might be safer and easier to track.
• Conduct transactions at public places where there are cameras and other people around.
• If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
• Individuals with information relating to odometer tampering should call NHTSA’s odometer fraud hotline at (800) 424-9393 or (202) 366-4761.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ankur Shingal, Leif Dautch, and Christopher Kaltsas 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.
Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect.