By Paula Vargas
An Arapahoe County Judge sentenced the man who led a multi-state car theft ring targeting online sellers to 14 years in prison Friday.
An indictment filed in October 2011 against Othello Bland named him and his associates, Chelsea Getchell and Jodie Reed as the individuals behind a scheme to purchase vehicles for sale on the Internet by fraudulent means and reselling them for cash.
Getchell and Reed named Othello Bland as the ring leader who recruited the two and instructed them to fraudulently purchase and resell vehicles over the Internet.
A 17-count indictment was filed against the trio. It says they would contact victims who had posted ads selling vehicles. They would show an interest and pose as an insurance company employee or a private buyer.
One of the three would show up and eventually take possession by either purchasing the vehicle with a forged cashier’s check or obtaining possession of the vehicle by posing as a prospective buyer and never returning from a test-drive inspection, according to court documents.
The victims learned of the fraud when they were unable to obtain proper title for the vehicles.
The trio resold the stolen vehicles for a total of $71,000 cash to unsuspecting buyers.
“We charged Othello Bland with stealing 13 cars in Colorado between 2007 and 2010,” said Colorado Attorney General John Suthers. “He also committed similar crimes in Idaho and Kansas and was implicated in several incidents in Utah, Nebraska and Missouri.”
Bland pleaded guilty in January to charges under the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act after reaching an agreement with prosecutors.