Norfolk man sentenced to 18 months in prison for rolling back odometers

WASHINGTON – The Norfolk man who pleaded guilty to operating an odometer and title fraud scheme was sentenced to 18 months in prison Wednesday.

48-year-old Lawson Basnight’s sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release. He has also been ordered to pay $403,720.17 in restitution, which reflects the consumer loss caused by his scheme.

News 3’s Margaret Kavanagh reported on this story in February.

Basnight pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit odometer tampering and securities fraud on January 25. As part of his plea agreement, he also admitted that he purchased high-mileage vehicles from people, advertising them for sale online and arranging to alter the vehicles’ odometers to reflect false, lower mileage readings.

Court documents say Basnight then secured fraudulent motor vehicle titles reflecting the lower mileage readings and used the false odometer readings and titles to sell the vehicles with inflated prices to unsuspecting buyers.

Basnight’s scheme began in 2010 and continued until 2016. Authorities say at times, the false mileage readings on the altered odometers and fraudulent titles were 110,00 miles less than the vehicles’ actual mileage.