MIAMI COUNTY — Former car salesperson Rodney Jenkins, 49, of Piqua, was sentenced to nine months in prison for selling a vehicle with an altered odometer at the former Mills Auto Sales business in Piqua.
The sentencing hearing took place on Monday in Miami County Common Pleas Court where Jenkins was facing charges of third-degree felony tampering with records and third-degree felony tampering with an odometer. Jenkins received nine months in prison for each of those charges to run concurrently.
According to previous reports, the corrupt activity was uncovered when a recipient of one of the vehicles brought the car to a repair shop and the mechanic told the owner that the odometer had been tampered with and was not displaying the correct mileage.
“He has a number of children at home … who rely on him,” public defender Steve King said on Jenkins’ behalf.
“I do have two kids I take care of,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins went on to add that he took full responsibility for his actions, saying that he wanted to avoid a prison sentence.
“I’m not here to blame nobody but myself,” Jenkins said. “I’m sorry. I would really like to stay on the outside to be with my family.”
The state declined to speak on the matter of sentencing.
“He deducted over 200,000 miles off the odometer,” Judge Christopher Gee said about Jenkins’ actions.
Jenkins sold a vehicle with over 397,000 miles on it with an altered odometer on it that read it only had 179,000 miles on it.
Gee remarked on the “serious economic harm” of selling a vehicle under the illusion that it had significantly less mileage than what it was in actuality, explaining that it was taking advantage of someone who possibly did not have much money to spend on a car as it was.
“It’s just stealing,” Gee said. “It’s stealing someone’s money with a smile on their face.”
Gee debated whether or not Jenkins was remorseful during the sentencing hearing on Monday as Jenkins claimed he was not the one who physically altered the vehicle’s odometer even though Jenkins pleaded guilty to the crime. Gee said that Jenkins’ guilty plea meant that he admitted to doing it.
“I’m not going to accept the Reader’s Digest of non-guilty version of events from you,” Gee said.
Gee said that Jenkins’ position as a car salesperson in this operation facilitated the crime, saying Jenkins took part in the organized crime.
Jenkins received one day of jail credit for his sentence. Jenkins faces up to three years of post-release control once released from prison.
Former salesperson Joshua Finley, 28, of Piqua, has also already been sentenced in connection with this crime and is serving 18 months in prison.
Two other people were named in the original indictment filed in January, including Christopher T.A. Mills, 27, of Piqua, and Scott J. Carnes, Jr., 32, of Piqua. Mills entered a guilty plea last week and is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 29. Carnes pleaded guilty in May and is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 22.
Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336