Woman buys car with rolled back odometer

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- A Valley mom thought she had found a pretty good deal on a used car only to find out the odometer may have been rolled back.  The car is about 18 years old, but the mileage on it was really low.

In fact, it said only 79,000 miles.  At least that's what the buyer thought.

Christina Gutierrez is a busy working mom and student so having a car to get around is crucial.

"A couple weeks ago, I was on the hunt for a new car, really didn't have much time because my original car had finally gave out on me," she said.

So Christina and her dad, Ruben Gutierrez, started searching the Internet and came across an ad that piqued their interest.

It was on Craigslist, and the car was a 1994 Toyota Camry. So, Christina's dad called the seller.

"I took his word over the phone because he sounded like a good family man, he told me he was a Maricopa County Sheriff's deputy,” said Ruben.

Ruben said that made him feel comfortable enough to send his daughter to look at the Camry on her own.

“Everything was just immaculate underneath the hood and the inside and interior. The only thing wrong was the faded paint. That was it,” said Christina.

And Christina said the car's odometer had only 79,000 miles on it.

So she paid the so-called sheriff's deputy $3,000 for the Camry and in return, he handed her a crumbled up title.

Christina took the wrinkled document to the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles to register it and then got the bad news about that title.

“He altered it.  He scratched off the first two numbers so it looked like it 79,000," Christina said.

According to the MVD, the Camry actually had 179,000 miles, and the news got even worse when they told her it also had a lien on it.

“I just wanted to die, my heart just dropped because that was all my money I just sold my car so that was all I had," Christina remarked.

Three On Your Side got involved and discovered the seller wasn't a deputy at all.

His name is Ray Rende, and published reports on the Internet said he and another man, John Darcy were arrested down in Florida a few years ago for allegedly rolling back odometers, kind of like what happened to Christina

“I gave $3,000 and ended up with nothing, practically a piece of junk out in my driveway that I can't even put in my name," she stated.

Three On Your Side worked with the MVD, and after hearing about Christina's situation they helped lift the lien so Christina could at least register the car.

Christina said she's grateful and added that she couldn't have done it without the help from 3 On Your Side.

“I’m very relieved, I’m more than happy.  I’m just glad I can finally put this mess behind me," she proclaimed.

As for Ray Rende, we'd love to talk to him but it seems he's nowhere to be found.

Three On Your Side has, however, confirmed that the Office of the Inspector General is investigating the matter. If there's a follow-up 3 On Your Side will let you know.