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Is parting out of car not titled in my name a crime

Portland, OR |

Long story short: I bought a car from consignment dealer. Consignment dealer pocketed the money, gave me the car, and original owner kept title. Consignment dealer then died penniless. Original (title) owner won't negotiate or communicate. So now I have a vehicle I cannot get title to and would like to get rid of. If I just sell the car for parts (or parts off the car) is there risk of being charged with a crime? I paid full value for the car. I understand title owner could try to sue for damages, but less worried about that then ending up arrested and charged with a crime.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Best answer

    Did the consignee (dealer) give you a bill of sale? There is a statute in ORS Chapter 79 which provides that a consignee can transfer the ownership rights of the consignor (the owner) if there is a valid consignment. You may now be the owner. See a lawyer with some expertise in this subject.

    This comment is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice. It does not create an attorney client relationship and obviously is not confidential. You should contact an attorney in your area who can review with you all of the relevant facts and give you specific legal advice.

  2. Hire an attorney before doing anything with this vehicle. The attorney will communicate with the title owner and protect you from facing any potential civil or criminal liability by demonstrating that you are trying to solve this problem by the books. Best of luck.

  3. If the consignment dealer did not pay the owner, you may well have problems that will subject you to a police inquiry at the very least. Although you paid for it, you don't have title at this point -- I would agree with the notion of hiring an attorney to act as an intermediary for you & do not part out the car, and work to preserve it in its current condition (e.g. garage it) until you figure out what to do. Whatever the cost of the car, a criminal case will cost far more. Good luck.

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