A used car salesman has been sent to federal prison for rolling back the odometer on cars he was trying to sell, the state Tax Commission announced.

Robert J. Gaitin, 47, Salt Lake City, had pleaded guilty to 16 counts of a federal indictment relating to the odometer fraud and was sentenced to 53 months in federal prison.His partner and son-in-law, John A. Mahler, 29, cooperated in the investigation and was sentenced to three years probation, the tax commission said in a news release Tuesday.

The indictment states that Gaitin and Mahler purchased hundreds of late-model, high-mileage cars from dealers in Southern California to be sold at their Mountain View Auto Sales in North Salt Lake City and paid others to turn back the cars odometers.

A California woman obtained duplicate titles to falsify the paperwork for the cars, the indictment said.