Man charged over car speedo scam

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A MORNINGTON Peninsula car buyer was one of 91 victims of a trickster who allegedly wound back the speedos on cars he was selling online.

Police at Mornington last week charged the man, 29, of Reservoir, with obtaining financial advantage by deception and acting as an unlicensed motor car trader. He was bailed to appear at Frankston Magistrates’ Court for a filing hearing and is expected to be tried at the Country Court at a later date.

Detective Senior Sergeant Nick Vallas, of Mornington police, will allege the man on-sold vehicles to the value of $1 million after buying them at motor car auctions and then re-advertising them through online classifieds.

Police will allege the man used an easily-obtained speedo resetting device to “wind back the clocks” on the late model cars – with one reset from 240,000 kilometres back to 60,000 kilometres.

The ruse came to light when a Mornington car dealer serviced one of the cars and recognised it as one he had sold previously – when it had many more kilometres on the speedo. He notified the new owner who was, understandably, horrified.

Detective Vallas said police were investigating fraudulent car sales back to 2010 – but believed that they went back even further. There are also more than 91 victims, but “we had to draw a line somewhere”.

It is claimed the fraudster conned his victims into believing the cars had genuine service books “which he had left home but would post next day”, and had used false dealer stamps on other fake service books.

He said the online classified service had provided valuable information on the fraudulent sales and that records had been seized from a car trader in Reservoir.

“More victims are coming forward following a three-month investigation,” Detective Vallas said. “They would not have bought the cars if they had known the true speedo readings.

“Unfortunately, they, and the peninsula car buyer, won’t be receiving any recompense – it’s just their bad luck.”

First published in the Mornington News – 26 May 2015

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