Former Hwy. Patrol Officer Pleads Guilty to Hiding Felony
KANSAS CITY - A former Missouri State Highway Patrol officer pleaded guilty in federal court today to concealing the alteration of Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) by an auto repair business. Today's plea is part of a federal investigation into a $245,000 conspiracy to sell salvaged vehicles with altered VINs.
Dusty Berry, 27, formerly of Carrollton, Mo., pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony. Berry admitted that he was aware a Carrollton auto repair business was committing felony federal offenses by removing VINs from damaged auto component parts and placing the VINs on parts that had not been properly inspected.
According to today's plea agreement, new parts that were ordered to rebuild pickup trucks at Potter Collision in Carollton were delivered without VINs, which the original manufactured parts would have.
Berry said he had allowed Potter to transfer the VIN plates and stickers in much the same way with the first truck he purchased from Potter in 2008.
Berry admitted that, as a law enforcement officer, he knew exactly what Potter was doing in repairing the truck, and knew such conduct was illegal. Nonetheless, he not only failed to dissuade Potter from this illegality, he failed to report or arrest Potter for his illegal actions.
Under federal statutes, Berry is subject to a sentence of up to three years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $205,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
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