My sister recently got involved with some people in the 'import/export' business. She was paid by these people to purchase a luxury vehicle in her name, she's the owner on the title and the insurance is in her name. They gave her a cashier's check to pay for the entire vehicle and now she doesn't have it, they are planning on shipping the vehicle over to china. What kind of trouble can she get in? It seems like something is shady. Will the government think that she had all this money to buy these cars and failed to pay taxes on it? And if the cars are sold overseas for profit but are still in her name, will she have to pay taxes on those profits?
Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey or Federal law applies, unless otherwise specified.
That being said, this sounds as if your sister is mixed up in an illegal export scheme. There would be no reason for a legitimate export business to have an individual buy a car and then send it overseas; they would buy the car themselves. You are correct about the tax issues; your sister would have to provide proof that the money was not her income. Unfortunately, if she received money, then it will likely be considered income to her, and taxable. She should get out of this scheme immediately. It is probably worth speaking to a white collar defense attorney with experience in this area.
/Christopher E. Ezold/
The Ezold Law Firm, P.C.
One Belmont Avenue,
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
Answered 8 months ago. Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified. /Christopher E. Ezold/ The Ezold Law Firm, P.C. One Belmont Avenue, Suite 501 Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 (610) 660-5585 Cezold@Ezoldlaw.com www.ezoldlaw.com
There are generally import restrictions on vehicles in China and other countries, as well as steep tariffs. Assuming the cashier's check is authentic (there are plenty of scams involving that), this may be an attempt to evade the restrictions and tariffs. They may do so by claiming the vehicle is personal, not for sale, and not subject to the tariffs, for example. There are many other requirements and regulations regarding international trade, import/export in general, and goods-specific for items such as cars. As an exporter your interactions with these aspects may vary depending on the services you use and the allocation of responsibility with the importer and other parties, but you must be very well aware of the entire process.
Regardless, the purchase and re-sale of cars generally requires a dealer's license. All activity would have to be documented and reported to the appropriate authorities, usually in conjunction with the establishment of a business entity.
This is only some general information, not advice. I cannot even begin to identify the issues unless I were to talk with you and have a thorough review and consultation. Your sister needs to speak with an attorney immediately.
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