Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

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ATTORNEY GENERAL KROGER SUES CLACKAMAS COUNTY CAR DEALER

March 15, 2011

Nicholas Butkovich is accused of tampering with odometers, altering titles and falsifying vehicle history reports

Attorney General John Kroger today announced a lawsuit against an unlicensed Clackamas County car dealer with a long history of unlawfully selling vehicles to Oregon consumers. In addition to the civil case, Nicholas Butkovich faces potential criminal charges associated with his fraudulent sales practices.

In 2008, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) cited Butkovich for acting as a vehicle dealer without a license and imposed a civil penalty of $52,500. DMV opened a second investigation in 2010 after learning of continued unlicensed activity by Butkovich. The case was referred to the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) when DMV's investigation unearthed evidence of odometer tampering and altered titles.

The complaint filed today in Clackamas County Circuit Court alleges that Butkovich has been unlawfully selling vehicles for at least four years. According to the complaint, Butkovich purchases vehicles at auction or from private owners and advertises them for sale online, representing that the cars are for sale "by owner," although the vehicles are not registered or titled to him.  The complaint alleges that most of these sales occurred at Butkovich's Happy Valley apartment complex or the parking lot of the Clackamas Town Center.

The investigation by the DOJ and DMV revealed evidence that, for at least one year, Butkovich has also rolled back vehicle odometers and altered their titles and vehicle history reports to substantiate the false odometer readings. The complaint alleges that Butkovich then advertised the vehicles with the false mileage.

From records provided by DMV and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, and evidence obtained in the investigation, DOJ has identified at least seven vehicles with tampered odometers that Butkovich sold to Oregon, Washington, and California residents over the last year.  According to the complaint, during some of these transactions, Butkovich gave a false name to purchasers.

The Department of Justice is asking the court to permanently ban Butkovich from purchasing or selling any vehicle in Oregon that is not for his personal use; order restitution for at least eight consumers; and require Butkovich to pay civil penalties and attorney fees.

On March 1 the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office arrested Butkovich on unrelated charges. He is currently lodged in Clackamas County Jail.  

Persons who may have purchased vehicles from Butkovich are urged to contact the Oregon Department of Justice or the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

Assistant Attorney General Jermaine Brown and Investigator Dale Geiger are handling the case for the Oregon Department of Justice.

Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, promote a positive business climate, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.

Contact:

Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 tony.green@doj.state.or.us |
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