John sold a car about a year ago in cash, but a title transfer did not take place. A year later, it turns out the person who bought the car, Steve, was receiving car tickets, and now the car is impounded. Could John report the car as stolen to prevent from paying? Is there any way to make Steve pay for the tickets, since he is in possession of the vehicle?

  • "Could John report the car as stolen to prevent from paying?" That's called fraud. It's illegal. – BlueDogRanch Aug 16 '17 at 16:30

John would be in criminal trouble if he reported the car stolen, because it was sold, and not stolen (thus the report would be false). Depending on what state he lives in, he may be in mild trouble for not having reported the sale or properly dealing with the license plates (for precisely this reason). The tricky part is that most title transfer rules impose the burden on the seller, who will have violated the title laws of his jurisdiction.

I assume that your "car tickets" are parking tickets, which are governed by municipal regulations, so there is no single procedural answer, but generally speaking, John can argue that it's not him that owes the fines. That depends on him being able to establish, convincingly enough, that he sold the car to Steve and that Steve was the person who violated the ordinances.

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