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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    9

    Unhappy My Car, Titled in a Relative's Name, was Reported Stolen

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: NY

    Good Morning,

    I have a serious problem and I'm not sure what to do. I've already contacted my Lawyer but he wasn't in his office yesterday due to the Holiday so I'm awaiting his phone call today. In the meantime, I need some advice on what to do. Here goes.....

    I lived with my Grandparents since I was 13 and I'm now 35. When my Grandfather fell ill he gave me his car because he could no longer drive. A few months later I traded his car at at used car dealership and paid the difference for a new car. My Grandmother said that I could put the car in her name. So We kept the insurance in her name and we registered the car in her name. Her name is also on the bill of sale and my name is nowhere on any of the paperwork. I've had the car for a couple of years now. My grandfather passed away in May of last year. When he passed away I moved out of the state and took my car with me. After my grandfather passed away my grandmother completely lost her mind. With that being said, she refuses to sign the title to my car. She thinks that by signing the title, she's claiming responsibility for the car. I've tried to explain to her that I just want to get it out of her name and into my fiance's name so that we can register it and insure it in the new state we live in. I called her after a few weeks went by and explained to her that if she doesn't sign the title I'm going to have no choice but to bring the car back to her house and leave it there. She then said I can't do that, she doesn't want the car at her house, it's not her car it's my car. I even sent her a certified letter asking her to sign the title, explaining to her again why I needed her to sign it and telling her again that if she doesn't sign it I'm going to bring the car to her house and leave it in her driveway. No response from her after that and now she won't talk to me. A couple of months have gone by since all of that happened. I was going to go to her house and try and talk to her in person about it. I called my insurance company yesterday because I wanted to get a quote on the car and they typed in the VIN number and told me that the car is coming up as stolen! They couldn't tell me who reported it stolen. I explained to them everything that I just wrote here and told them that it's my car and it's sitting in my driveway right now.

    My question is, My car was reported stolen and it's sitting in my driveway right now and has been for almost a year! I have no paperwork in my name, nothing. I have all of the paperwork but it's all in my grandmother's name. I have receipts for the car from when I had work done on it and everything. What should I do?? I'm nervous as anything now. I was thinking about calling a state to state towing company and towing the car back to her house until I can somehow get this straightened out. I don't know what I should do. Please, any advice would be greatly appreciated. Oh and the kicker to all of this is, My grandmother doesn't even have a drivers license and never did! I know that the registration on the car has expired for some time now and that's another reason why I needed to have her sign my title. Ughhhhh I just don't know what to do next. Please help!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,263

    Default Re: My Car Was Reported Stolen by a Family Member

    Despite your and her protestations, it is HER car if she is the titled owner. There's only one person who could have reported it stolen, that's the owner.

    This is not atypical for people who decide to commit insurance fraud as you have. I'm not sure why you never seem to want to admit to owning the vehicle you are driving.
    You're lucky you weren't in an accident and found out that your shenanigans meant you really did not have insurance.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    OH10
    Posts
    17,019

    Default Re: My Car Was Reported Stolen by a Family Member

    Ditto, IT is not your car. Make arrangements to return the car ASAP.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: My Car, Titled in a Relative's Name, was Reported Stolen

    Possessing and driving a car that you've paid for, and which has always been "yours", is not car theft. But with the car in grandma's name, and grandma apparently edging toward not being mentally competent... and with the possibility that the report was made by a third party... I suggest being proactive. You should have records that will help you prove that you paid for the car, paid for insurance on the car, paid for registration, maintenance, repair, etc., correct? That, above and beyond the fact that grandma didn't have a license at the time of purchase, the car has always been in your possession? Get it together.

    Car theft reports are normally made with the local police. I suggest going to the police department where grandma (or somebody on her behalf) would have reported the car stolen to talk to the investigating officer, and to document that the report is not accurate. You can explain that you only learned about the report from your insurance company when checking about reinstating insurance, and that the car is presently parked and cannot be driven due to the lapsed registration and insurance. If you're nervous about doing this yourself, with nobody here being in a position to tell you either what the police have been told or how receptive they'll be to your explanation, you can consider working through an attorney.

    flyingron is correct in intimating that if the insurance company learned that you were driving "your" car, registered and insured under somebody else's name and at somebody else's address, let alone an address in a different state, they would deem the actions fraudulent and revoke the policy in the event that they discovered the discrepancies after a claim.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: My Car, Titled in a Relative's Name, was Reported Stolen

    Thank you Mr. Knowitall . The only thing he has is receipts from work he had done on the car. He gave his grandmother cash to pay for the insurance because she paid by check. We don't want to go to the police ourselves because we don't want to get into any trouble, we didn't do anything wrong. Were going to wait for our lawyer to call and hopefully he can straighten it out for us. The only time the car was driven since our move was to drive it here to our house when we moved and at that time my grandmother was so happy to have it removed from her house. She was always on top of us to make sure we take the car with us. She didn't want the car at her house, which I why we don't understand ANY of this. When we called her a couple of months ago, as I stated in my original posting, we told her if she doesn't sign the title we have no choice but to bring the car back to her house, she flipped out. She said it wasn't her car that it was my Fiance's car and she was very much against us bringing the car there. I'm wondering if the insurance company told her to report it stolen because we still have the plates on it. We tried to avoid her getting charged fees and stuff but she just wouldn't sign the title.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: My Car, Titled in a Relative's Name, was Reported Stolen

    How did this go from "I" to "he"?

    If you are telling us that you have no evidence to support your version of events, then working through a lawyer would seem sensible.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    6,808

    Default Re: My Car, Titled in a Relative's Name, was Reported Stolen

    Honey, you need to be honest with us to get a good answer. And you need to be honest with the lawyer.

    Is it HIS grandmother or YOUR grandmother? Since the story has changed....

    Is it supposedly YOUR car or YOUR FIANCE's car?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    OH10
    Posts
    17,019

    Default Re: My Car, Titled in a Relative's Name, was Reported Stolen

    So your BF has not been paying any expenses directly himself. He traded in grandpa's car to get it and apparently cannot substantiate where the difference came from. It has continued to stay registered and insured by grandma. He has no leg to stand on.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: My Car, Titled in a Relative's Name, was Reported Stolen

    I'm so sorry. I'm just so stressed and I'm writing very fast without thinking. It's my Fiance's car and it's his grandmother whom he's having this problem with.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Lake Chapala
    Posts
    2,954

    Default Re: My Car, Titled in a Relative's Name, was Reported Stolen

    No, I don't believe it. I've been majorly stressed out at times in my life and I've never taken on my SO's persona by accident as a result.

    Bottom line is, this car belongs to the grandmother. If whoever has it now refuses to return it to the grandmother then that person has effectively stolen the car from the grandmother. The grandmother has every legal right to report the car stolen.

    As an aside, just curious, why wasn't the car and insurance put in your name or your other persona's name? As someone else has said this looks very much like insurance fraud...if you and/or the other persona pursue this (i.e., continue to keep the car and insist it's really yours), you and the other may very well find yourselves in very deep doo-doo with the insurance company. Your safest option is probably to just return the car to grandma, stat.

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