Thursday, January 22, 2015

Koster: Springfield car dealer receives shock time, placed on probation for unlawful practices

(From Attorney General Chris Koster)

Attorney General Chris Koster today announced the sentence for a Springfield used car dealer convicted of misrepresenting the true mileage on cars he sold. Koster said Ashley Bolton was sentenced today in Greene County Circuit Court to four years in the Department of Corrections, with the execution of the sentence suspended so long as he meets all other terms of the sentence. Bolton must serve 30 days' shock-incarceration in the Greene County jail and five years of supervised probation, and is prohibited from working as or for a licensed automobile dealer. Bolton also must provide restitution to consumers. The court scheduled a hearing for March 10 on the amount of restitution to be paid.

The Attorney General charged Bolton in 2013 with two felony counts of unlawful merchandising practices. Bolton pleaded guilty September 18, 2014.

An investigation by the Attorney General's Office, the Missouri Department of Revenue and the Office of Odometer Fraud in the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration found Bolton misrepresented the actual mileage of vehicles being offered for sale by Excel Auto Group in 2011 and 2012. In one case, Bolton bought a car with more than 180,000 miles then sold it representing it had only 99,000 miles. In another, Bolton bought a car with nearly 220,000 miles then sold it less than a month later with an odometer reading of 119,000 miles.

"Ashley Bolton deceived consumers into spending hard-earned money on higher mileage cars for more than they were worth," Koster said. "Odometer fraud is serious crime. I am pleased he is permanently banned from selling cars, to protect consumers from his fraudulent acts."

Consumers who suspect odometer fraud should call the Missouri Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222 or file a complaint online.

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