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)?