An Arlington used car dealer was ordered to pay a customer $1,500 in damages plus attorneys' fees of $1,250 yesterday by a federal judge who found that the dealer had misrepresented to the customer the number of miles the car had traveled.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert F. Merhige, sitting in Alexandria, found that Steven Velcicky of Budget Autos, 3237 Wilson Blvd., intended to defraud Reza Eghbal when Eghbal purchased a 1972 BMW from him last December.
Merhige also said that "perjury was committed in this case" and "I am going to refer this case to the U.S. Attorney's Office" for investigation.
When Merhige imposed the judgment totalling $2,750, Velcicky moaned and held his head in his hands.
Merhige found that Velcicky had misrepresented the car's mileage, failed to tell Eghbal the car's odometer did not work and told Eghbal he did not have the car's tilte when he did.
Velcicky and his wife Margaret, who run Budget Autos, had testified they did not know the odometer was malfunctioning. But Merhige said, "I do not believe the statements of the defendant," meaning Velcicky.
Merhige also found that when Velcicky originally purchased the car from Margaret E. Pennypacket of Potomac, he did not tell her he was in the auto business.
Pennypacker testified Velcicky purchased the car from her at her home for $2,000 last Dec. 15 and that she told him at the time that its odometer had been inoperative for about two years. The car actually had about 20,000 more miles than the 47,061 the odometer registered, Pennypacker testified she told Velcicky.
Eghbal testified he purchased the car from Velcicky six days later for $2,700 and Velcicky told him the car had good mileage, considering how old it was.
Eghbal said he then went to Velcicky's office to sign papers for the sale. When he asked for the car's title, Eghbal testified. Velcicky told him "he didn't have it. It was at the bank." Eghbal said that when he insisted, Velcicky went to a file cabinet and produced the title.
Eghbal said he realized the car's odometer was broken when its reading remained unchanged. He said he filed his suit after calling Pennypacker, whose name was on the title.