Reporting David Goldstein
WOODLAND HILLS (CBS) — After a CBS2 News hidden-camera investigation uncovering odometer fraud led to the arrest of a Woodland Hills man, we caught him at it again.
The last time we saw Shamai Salpeter was earlier this month when he was arrested.
We had caught him on hidden cameras outside his Woodland hills home offering to roll back the odometer of a car.
“You’re going to help me out with the mileage, right,” our undercover producer asked Salpeter?
“Whatever you need, that’s what I will put. Whenever you decide, I’m charging $200 for those,” he said.
“For what? How much can you roll it back,” our producer asked?
“Any amount that you need,” Salpeter replied.
But just weeks after he got out of jail, our hidden cameras caught him again — this time allegedly working with a friend.
“You tell him how much you want, put the money under the mat,” Salpeter said to our undercover producer, who met Salpeter outside a Starbucks near his home.
“Put $200 under the mat and my guy will take it,” Salpeter said.
“OK, OK, I just want to be clear. What is he going to do,” our producer asked?
“What do you need to do,” Salpeter said?
“I need, like, help with the mileage.”
“That’s what he’s doing. Give him the money under the mat and give him the key,” Salpeter said.
We never went through with it. But rolling back the odometer could potentially raise the resale value of a car and deceive buyers into thinking it is in better condition.
Before his arrest, we saw Salpeter work on dozens of cars and investigators believe he could be responsible for lowering the mileage on hundreds of vehicles.
Now it seems he is being a little more cautious, saying his friend would take the car to another location to have the miles rolled back and that he was not doing any work.
“I’m not even allowed to go close to the car,” Salpeter said to our undercover producer.
“Really? Why not?”
“Because I got problems before and I’m not touching any car. If you want to do it, he can do it,” Salpeter replied.
“What kind of problems?”
“Somebody catch me, and I don’t do it anymore,” he said.
But it is clear Salpeter is still brokering deals to roll back odometers.
When we caught up with him, he denied it.
“You were arrested already Mr. Salpeter. Why are you still doing it,” I asked him?
“I don’t touch nothing. I don’t do nothing,” he said.
Salpeter claims that he showed up because he said he knew that person was working with us.
“I tried to set him up. It didn’t work. (Expletive) it, that’s it.
“You tried to set him up,” I asked?
“Yes,” he said.
“For what? You were the one who was offering to do something illegal,” I said.
“No,” he said.
While Salpeter was arrested, he still has not been charged with any crime. DMV investigators are working with the D.A.’s office and are expected to file charges in the next few weeks.
We showed the video to Vito Scattaglia, who is heading up the DMV investigation.
“It appears to be business as usual,” Scattaglia said, adding, “It really is pretty brazen. It’s almost as though he never stopped.”
Scattaglia said it is a complicated case and when it is over there may be numerous people charged. Until then, Salpeter is still out on the streets and despite us exposing him — not once, but twice – he is now become a loyal viewer.
“Listen, I suddenly start to watch your program,” Salpeter said. “I like your job. I don’t take it personally.”