A North York man has been sentenced to 450 days in prison after being found guilty of odometer tampering.
Mehran Amini received the longest sentence ever handed out in Ontario for illegal vehicle sales, according to a statement from the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC).
The statement said Amini was charged after OMVIC investigators discovered he'd purchased 30 vehicles from Western Canada, and shipped them to Ontario.
Amini then rolled back the odometers on the vehicles, which were mostly late-model pick-up trucks with high mileage, investigators said.
"They are vehicles that could be near end-of-life, but they were paying huge dollars -- $30 to $40,000 -- for these vehicles," OMVIC Director of Communications Terry O'Keefe told CTV Toronto's Pat Foran.
"The warranties were all cancelled."
O'Keefe said some of the odometers had been rolled back as much as 150,000 kilometres.
The vehicles were sold to residents of the Toronto area, including Sean Wedge.
"Buying this truck was a financial disaster," Wedge told CTV Toronto.
"I thought it had 52,000 kilometres which it had 180,000 kilometres. I had to do more than $22,000 in repairs."
Amini's case was heard by a judge who found him guilty of violations of the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act and the Consumer Protection Act, including "curbsiding."
Curbsiding is the illegal practice of reselling vehicles without having the registered title to a car being sold.
"Evidence presented in court showed Amini placed ads in online marketplaces posing as a private seller, though he told some buyers he was a dealer, and that he used multiple aliases," OMVIC's statement said.
Amini was convicted and sentenced to 450 days in prison, but is appealing his sentence.
Records showed Amini had also been convicted previously for similar crimes. In one occasion, he and his company were fined $393,000 for selling 42 vehicles with rolled-back odometers, OMVIC said. Amini is appealing that conviction as well.
"Most consumers think today, with the digital dashes, that odometers can't be rolled back, but for many vehicles, it's actually very simple," O'Keefe warned.
If you're buying a used vehicle, OMVIC offered the following red flags:
- The vehicle is priced below its true value
- The vehicle isn't registered in the seller's name
- The seller won't allow a mechanic to inspect the vehicle
- The seller won't provide a car history report