SIOUX CITY -- The owner of Siouxland Auto Sales was arrested on a half-dozen charges of fraudulent practice after an undercover investigation revealed he had tampered with odometers on high-mileage vehicles, the Iowa Department of Transportation said Friday.
The Iowa DOT is now requesting anyone who purchased a vehicle from the business from 2016 to 2018 to notify its Bureau of Investigation and Identity Protection with vehicle and contact information.
Francisco Javier Hurtado, 37, owner of Siouxland Auto Sales, 500 S. Lewis Blvd., was arrested April 26 and charged with six counts of fraudulent practice in the second degree.
A news release from the Iowa DOT says the arrest followed an investigation initiated in December when the agency received a tip that vehicles at the used car dealership had been tampered with. The tip stated odometers had been rolled back from high mileages to lesser mileages to increase the vehicles' value.
Investigators served a search warrant on Jan. 17 after the undercover investigation found three victims and identified vehicles with tampered odometers on the dealer's lot. Authorities seized 14 vehicles with odometers that had been tampered with, according to the news release.
Court documents say Hurtado admitted he had replaced odometer clusters with odometers that had lower mileage readings on some vehicles on his lot. Documents say he had also sold a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado with an actual mileage of 258,981 miles to a Sergeant Bluff customer and a 2004 Honda Civic with an actual mileage of 267,279 miles to a Sioux City customer, while both vehicles had incorrect odometer readings.
Hurtado had not reset the replaced odometers to zero or to the original mileage, nor placed a label or sticker on the dashboards noting that the odometer clusters had been replaced, in accordance with the law, according to documents.
Hurtado was arrested April 26 and has since been released from the Woodbury County Jail on $10,000 bond. His next court date will be Wednesday.
As of Friday afternoon, Siouxland Auto Sales was open. The dealership did not immediately respond to The Journal's request for comment.
The Iowa DOT encourages anyone who suspects vehicle fraud from Hurtado or any other dealer to contact the Bureau of Investigation and Identity Protection at 515-237-3050 or email@example.com