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Two Betsy Lane Residents Sentenced for Operating a Chop Shop

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Two Betsy Lane Residents Sentenced for Operating a Chop Shop

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Kentucky
February 18, 2010

LONDON, KY—The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that Marty Keith Hamilton, 51, and Gary Dean Keathley, 53, both of Betsy Lane, Kentucky, were sentenced yesterday to 80 months and 50 months in prison, respectively, by United States District Court Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove for operating a chop shop. Judge Van Tatenhove also sentenced both for possessing vehicles with altered vehicle identification number (VIN) plates with the intent to sell or dispose of these vehicles.

Hamilton admitted during his plea in 2008 that while he worked detailing vehicles as a contract employee for a local automotive dealership, he stole approximately 60 vehicles. Hamilton either kept duplicate keys from the cars brought to his garage to be detailed or used a key-cutting machine to create an extra key for himself.

Hamilton placed a sticker with the automotive dealership’s logo on the back of the cars so that he could easily identify these vehicles at various business locations in Pike and Floyd Counties. When Hamilton located one of these vehicles, he used the duplicate keys to gain entry and drive off with them.

Keathley pleaded guilty last year and admitted that he and Hamilton purchased donor vehicles from local dealerships at salvage yards. The two men took the legitimate VIN plates from the donor vehicles and placed them on the stolen vehicles in order to conceal that the vehicles were stolen. They sold the stolen vehicles to unsuspecting third parties in Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, and West Virginia.

Under federal law, Hamilton & Keathley must serve 85 percent of their respective prison sentences and upon release, will be under the supervision of the United States Probation Office for a period of three years.

Pursuant to their plea agreements with the United States, both Hamilton and Keathley will be required to pay restitution to the victims of these crimes in an amount to be determined by the court at a subsequent hearing. If you have previously received correspondence identifying you as a potential victim in this matter, please contact the victim witness coordinator for the United States Attorney’s Office at (859)233-2661 by Friday, March 5, 2010, to ensure that your rights under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act are protected.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI, Kentucky State Police, and the Pikeville Police Department. The United States was represented by Assistant United States Attorney W. Samuel Dotson.

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