'Curber' gets conditional sentence
A Surrey man has been handed a one-year conditional sentence for selling used cars that weren't what they seemed. Chris Olsen shows how buyers were taken for a ride.
Curbers are unlicensed car dealers posing as private sellers. Parveen Kumar Saini is a curber. He plead guilty to 15 counts of fraud under $5,000. Evidence entered in court showed how Saini would buy used cars cheaply, clean them up, roll back the odometers, and re-sell them -- sometimes within 24 hours.
Evidence at his sentencing hearing showed rollbacks of hundreds of thousands of kilometres in some cases. Saini advertised in newspapers and met buyers in shopping mall parking lots, a warning sign to buyers that he was a curber. But most of his victims were new immigrants who were unaware of the warning signs.
Evidence showed that a fault in British Columbia's auto transfer system allowed Saini to commit the fraud. When he bought a car with a higher odometer reading then sold it with lower mileage, the system was unable to catch the switch -- even though ICBC has the two numbers -- from the real mileage to the new fake one.
Here's an example: in one of the frauds, a 1992 Honda Accord had clocked 452, 000 kilometres. When Saini sold it the next day, the mileage was rolled back to 142,000 kilometres. He checked the box on the Transfer Tax Form that the odometer was "replaced/broken."
The only place buyers can discover the fraud is on the AirCare website by running the vehicle identification number or by getting a Car Proof report.
Saini also did not disclose that many of the vehicles had been written off in serious accidents. And he convinced some buyers to commit tax fraud by listing the sale as a gift, or at an artificially low price like $500 so they could pay less provincial sales tax. Eleven of the 14 victims did that and they won't be getting any restitution for buying cars with rolled back odometers. Only the honest victims will get their money -- a lesson for everyone.
In all, Saini made about $25,000 in his curbing scheme. He's been given a one year conditional sentence and two years probation. He can only leave his house to go to work -- now as a car detailer -- or for medical emergencies. And he can not buy or sell a car without permission.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen