First off, I meant to make my username: "Titleless" meaning: without a title. Unfortunately I'll now be known as "Tit less". :/
I bought a car off of craigslist recently without the title. I know it was stupid and I shouldn't have done it. Won't happen it again. At the time of the sale, the seller conveyed to me that he himself had just bought the car, and was in the process of transferring the title over from the previous owner. We agreed to fill out a "Bill of Sale" which had both of our names, addresses, vehicle information and the amount that it was purchased for ($2,500). I gave him the cash, he gave me the car, and we agreed to meet back up whenever the title came in the mail at which point he would sign it over to me. This took place on 02/01/2017.
Fast forward a couple weeks, after contacting the seller via text message a couple of times, he let me know that he still had not received the title in the mail, and that it was gonna be here "any day now". Eventually he responded back to me and said that he finally had the title and we agreed to meet at a time that he would specify on the morning of Friday at the end of the week. Friday comes and I haven't heard from him. I called him and got an automated message with something like: "The person you are trying to reach is not accepting calls at this time..." I thought maybe he blocked me so I tried from my wife's phone and got the same message. Apparently this can happen if your phone gets turned off for non-payment. I also tried several times to send him emails but did not receive any replies.
At that point it had been over a month since the sale and obviously I was starting to get concerned, especially since his phone wasn't working. So I made a call to the Texas DMV and started asking questions and explaining my situation. I was looking into possibly getting a "bonded" title. The DMV hotline responder let me know the process to apply for a bonded title but out of curiosity asked me for the VIN and looked it up in their system. She said "Oh, no wonder he's not answering your calls... he took out a title loan on it".
So the next day I went down to the DMV and paid $5 and filled out a "Request for information" form on the title history of the car. In fact, the guy took out a title loan BEFORE selling me the car. The date on record for that is 01/27/2017, and we made the deal on 02/01/2017. So the whole time he knew what was going on with the title but he lied to me and definitely did not disclose that there was a lien on the car. Also another fun fact is that he told me that he forged the previous owners signature when he transferred the title to himself because that person was not present or he did feel like trying to contact them.
When I filed for the title history I was able to get the business name and phone number where he took out the title loan. I've called them and explained the situation and they were reluctant to give me any sort of detail into the loan or what my options were other than contacting the seller, who they too have also had difficulty contacting. But they now know that I have the car and apparently they are going to look into it further with their legal team.
My questions are as follows:
1. What laws has he broken, if any?
2. What right to the car do I have?
What should I do now? Again, the car is in my garage with the door closed. I have a dated bill of sale with the amount I paid the seller. The title loan company knows I have the car (they have my name and phone number but not my address).