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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    5

    Default My Son Bought A Motorcycle With A Clean Title But DA's Office Says It's Stolen

    My son purchased a motorcycle from a buyer who had clear title in the state of Arizona, where my son also resides. My son paid cash for the motorcycle and subsequently registered the motorcycle in his name and received free and clear title from the AZ DMV. This took place about 8 months ago.

    Today we got a call from the District Attorney’s office stating that we have to surrender the motorcycle as evidence to the state because it is stolen. Apparently the seller had purchased the motorcycle by obtaining financing through use of identity theft. The motorcycle however was not security for the financing and there was no lienholder interest shown on the title to the lender. The Seller represented to my son that the motorcycle was owned free and clear and the title evidenced that fact.

    The District Attorney states that since the financing was obtained through identity theft that the seller never in-fact owned the vehicle, therefore what was conveyed in the transfer of title was only the seller’s ownership interests, which were none.

    The District Attorney is basically saying that my son will lose his investment in the motorcycle and that his only recourse is to sue the seller (who is in jail and has no assets). The District Attorney is stating that my son is in possession of a stolen motorcycle.

    After discussing the matter further with the District Attorney he is holding off on seizing my son’s motorcycle and is going to research how the Uniform Commercial Code Act applies to this situation to determine what, if any, ownership rights my son has in the motorcycle.

    My questions are:

    Does my son have to turn the motorcycle over to the District Attorney as evidence in the crime perpetrated by the seller?

    How does the UCC act apply to this situation?

    Shouldn’t the risk of loss be with the motorcycle dealership who sold the motorcycle to the guy who sold it to my son, or the lender who was lied to by the Seller?

    As a complicating factor, my son crashed on the motorcycle, damaging it substantially, and repaired it with parts that cost him in excess of $4,000. Those parts replaced the damaged parts (which my son is no longer in possession of).

    Does my son own the parts he purchased and can he remove them from the motorcycle should he have to surrender it to the courts (and if so is he responsible for the damaged parts that have since been disposed of by the repair shop)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    5,437

    Default Re: My Son Bought A Motorcycle With A Clean Title But DA's Office Says It's Stolen??

    Q: Does my son have to turn the motorcycle over to the District Attorney as evidence in the crime perpetrated by the seller?

    A: "The District Attorney states that since the financing was obtained through identity theft that the seller never in-fact owned the vehicle, therefore what was conveyed in the transfer of title was only the seller’s ownership interests, which were none."

    Period.

    End of story.

    Even if.

  3. #3

    Default Re: My Son Bought A Motorcycle With A Clean Title But DA's Office Says It's Stolen??

    I don't care what SJ says, I SAY the parts he paid for are HIS!

    If I had a receipt for the parts and could prove I bought those, I'd take them off and return it without them. If the DA doesn't like it, tell him what happened (your son wrecked it and paid for the replacement parts and he is keeping those)

    If the DA tries to say that's a crime, he is full of it. At best it's a civil matter in which the company that really owns the motorcycle would have to sue your son civilly with a claim that he wrecked their bike and is responsible for it. PHFFFFFT Good luck with that, I'd take my chances.

    Then I would also sue the dude who sold him the bike. Even if he has no money now, he may later.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: My Son Bought A Motorcycle With A Clean Title But DA's Office Says It's Stolen??

    I agree with you about the parts.

    Just a quick thought here . . . if the DA's office is alledging the bike is stolen, and my son currently has free and clear title to the bike, wouldn't the DA need the court to file some paperwork to reassign the title to whoever they deem to be the actual owner? And until then wouldn't the bike remain my son's property to do with as he pleases?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    106

    Default Re: My Son Bought A Motorcycle With A Clean Title But DA's Office Says It's Stolen??

    Is your son a minor? Is the DA charging your son with a crime?

  6. #6

    Default Re: My Son Bought A Motorcycle With A Clean Title But DA's Office Says It's Stolen??

    Quote Quoting mrbiznet
    View Post
    Just a quick thought here . . . if the DA's office is alledging the bike is stolen, and my son currently has free and clear title to the bike, wouldn't the DA need the court to file some paperwork to reassign the title to whoever they deem to be the actual owner? And until then wouldn't the bike remain my son's property to do with as he pleases?
    Yeah, if it were me, I wouldn't go quite that far. I think your son is getting the shaft here, but I don't think he has claim to the bike. Although I think the DA would have quite a hard time doing anything about you keep parts off the bike that you paid for that may not be the case if you start playing games with him/her regarding the bike itself.

    The company that sold the bike to the thief is a victim just as much as your son. So it isn't really fair to them for your son to keep the bike.

    I'd also inquire about finding out if the company that sells the bike collected any insurance? If the bike goes back to them, that's unjust enrichment as they couldn't both get the bike and full value from insurance.

    Also, you could always talk to an attorney and see what kind of options you have.

    My only take is that SJ is wrong if he is saying the DA can legally make you give them the parts off the bike which were paid for by your son and he can prove that. Not saying you wouldn't lose a civil case from the company that sold the bike as they would have a case your son would be responsible for damaging their property. I just think it’s highly unlikely they would take it to that level, but that's not a given.

  7. #7

    Default Re: My Son Bought A Motorcycle With A Clean Title But DA's Office Says It's Stolen??

    Quote Quoting cksherer
    View Post
    Is the DA charging your son with a crime?
    This is something you have to consider too. As it’s possible for them to charge your son with RSP (Receiving Stolen Property) they would probably lose such a case if the bike was turned over promptly once you were notified about its true status.

    However, I would think the longer you try to keep the bike the better the DA's chances of making a RSP case stick should he decide to pursue it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: My Son Bought A Motorcycle With A Clean Title But DA's Office Says It's Stolen??

    My son is not a minor, he just turned 22.

    However, he has received no documentation of any kind whatsoever supporting anything to us that the property is stolen, that there was indentity theft, that the identity theft was utilized to purchase this motorcycle fraudulently, or anything of the sort. It has merely been a couple of phone calls placed to us, and by us with the detectives and the attorney at the DA's office working the case.

    No documentation of anykind has yet to be provided to us.

    What is the DA required to provide us to support their claim and take possession of the motorcycle?

    Would my son have ample time upon proper notification from the DA to remove the parts he purchased?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    106

    Default Re: My Son Bought A Motorcycle With A Clean Title But DA's Office Says It's Stolen??

    Well the DA already told your son that it is stolen property they need no paper work to show you. The motorcycle needs to be held as EVIDENCE in a case. If you do not hand it over they may file charges against your son for recieving stolen property.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: My Son Bought A Motorcycle With A Clean Title But DA's Office Says It's Stolen??

    Does my son have no rights in this matter?

    He did everything a prudent buyer of a vehicle would and should do to assure that he was buying a vehicle with clear title, including running a carfax. The fact that the seller purchased the vehicle from a dealer with money that he obtained through fraud and was given a free and clear title by the dealer was totally opaque to my son, and would have been impossible for my son to know at the time of my son's purchase.

    Is there case law that states if property is purchased with funds that were obtained fraudulently that that property is then deemed stolen?

    At this point we have no idea who even has claim to the motorcycle assuming that it legally fits the description of being stolen property.

    If the lender has claim, then wouldn't they have an unsecured interest in the property (since there was no leinholder's interest) and have rights of repossession? This wouldn't be a case of theft would it?

    If you were to buy a washer with your Sears card and then sell it to a third party and subsequently not pay your Sears card, would the washer be stolen merchandise? Sears would be able to sue the borrower, but the guy who bought the washer from the cardholder wouldn't be purchasing stolen merchandise, would he? Even if the guy lied to obtain the credit in the first place?

    This does not make sense to me.

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