There are two titles because the original owner thought he lost the title in the past and requested a duplicate title and didn't realized he gave me the original. Using the original title I obtained insurance under the company name (not my company) but on the policy my name is under financial responsibility and driver. The business owner found the title on my desk and signed the back of the title to his name and forged a bill of sale. He then gave it to a third party company, when they tried to register the vehicle it was kicked back because the title was not valid because there is a duplicate title.
Now I have the valid duplicate title and the vehicle and the valid bill of sale in my name. The company owner is threatening to call the police and report the vehicle stolen. What do I do? Can I actually be arrested?

  • 1
    Which jurisdiction (country, province, state etc) are you in? – Rock Ape Mar 9 at 14:40
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    How did you pay for the car? check? wire transfer? cash? do you have any communications in writing regarding the terms of the sale? why is his company's name in the insurance policy? – Iñaki Viggers Mar 9 at 14:43
  • @Businessgowrong Do you have (or can you legally and safely get hold of) the title signed by the owner and his "forged" bill of sale? I'm sure the police would be interested in them regardless of whether or not he goes through with his threat to report you. – Rock Ape Mar 9 at 14:50
  • It was in cash. I have text messages in which the owner and I discussed the price he wanted. I also have the Bill of sale that he and I signed at purchase. We were going to use it to transport equipment for the business. I was planning on purchasing the business but in the end decided against it. Just an FYI the vehicle is still in the name of the original owner as is the registration. – Business go wrong Mar 9 at 14:54
  • Westchester county in New York – Business go wrong Mar 9 at 14:55

What do I do?

Contact the police, and henceforth make sure that all your interactions with the business owner are in writing. That evidence will facilitate the police investigation in this fact-intensive matter.

Can I actually be arrested?

Yes, you are at risk of getting arrested regardless of whether you eventually prove the business owner is the one who broke the law. Hence the importance of contacting the police before it proceeds on the basis of his fraudulent accusations.

The business owner has committed crimes including --but not limited to-- forgery, larceny, and attempted extortion (People v. Ramos, 34 Misc.3d 914, 920 (2012) and Matter of Spargo, 68 A.D.3d 1242 (2009) reflect that also the attempt of extortion leads to being charges and convicted, respectively).

The timing of events could be indicative of the extent to which the business owner's criminal conduct was premeditated. For instance, it is unclear whose idea was keep the vehicle in his company's name notwithstanding that you had not acquired the company yet. If it was his idea, this will tend to weaken his denials of mens rea (given his subsequent course of action).

Likewise, it is unclear what dissuaded you from purchasing the business. You need to assess whether he lured you in order to get your money for the car, and thereafter cause you to change your mind about the business.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Dale M Mar 12 at 3:12

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