Dallas – Plano Criminal Defense Fraud Attorneys
A “fraudulent transfer of motor vehicle” happens when a car is sold or taken without the consent of its owner. This involves car sales, leases, subleases, and property transfers involving cars and other motor vehicles. Section 32.34 of the Texas Penal Code, Title 7 states the following:
- “Lease” means the grant of use and possession of a motor vehicle for consideration, whether or not the grant includes an option to buy the vehicle.
- “Motor vehicle” means a device in, on, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway, except a device used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks.
- “Security interest” means an interest in personal property or fixtures that secures payment or performance of an obligation.
- “Third party” means a person other than the actor or the owner of the vehicle.
- “Transfer” means to transfer possession, whether or not another right is also transferred, by means of a sale, lease, sublease, lease assignment, or other property transfer.
A person commits an offense if the person acquires, accepts possession of, or exercises control over the motor vehicle of another under a written or oral agreement to arrange for the transfer of the vehicle to a third party and:
- knowing the vehicle is subject to a security interest, lease, or lien, the person transfers the vehicle to a third party without first obtaining written authorization from the vehicle’s secured creditor, lessor, or lienholder;
- intending to defraud or harm the vehicle’s owner, the person transfers the vehicle to a third party;
- intending to defraud or harm the vehicle’s owner, the person disposes of the vehicle in a manner other than by transfer to a third party; or
- the person does not disclose the location of the vehicle on the request of the vehicle’s owner, secured creditor, lessor, or lienholder.
Penalties for Fraudulent Transfer of Motor Vehicle
The fraudulent transfer of a motor vehicle is a state jail felony in Texas. If the value of the car fraudulently transferred is in excess of $20,000, you face a third degree felony charge. Under Section 12.34 of the Texas Penal Code, a third degree felony is punishable by imprisonment 2 – 10 years in prison. Depending on the circumstances of your case, in addition to your prison sentence you may be punished by a fine of up to $10,000.
Avoiding Charges of Fraudulent Transfer of Motor Vehicle
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles requires dealers to keep the following records in regard to any car involved in a sale:
- A copy of the Application for Certificate of Title
- Odometer Disclosure Statement The VTR Form 136
- Bill of Sale
- Retail agreement
- Sales contract
- Copy of the title and any related power of attorney
If you were involved in the sale of a car and were unable to provide certain required documents, there may be issues with what you received from the dealer originally.
Proving that you intentionally sold a car with the intent to defraud the owner or buyer is not always a straightforward affair. Before talking to investigators, contact Dallas – Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys at Clancy & Clancy today.