Follow-up question for Could a contract with ludicrous terms be enforced?
At the end of the hypothetical there, they raise the possibility of someone secretly selling the same physical item (a unique car) to several different people. It seems to me that this must be against the law somehow, but I don't know exactly how it's handled. This possibility was not addressed in the discussion.
- I own a valuable physical object.
- I make a contract to sell this object to each of several different people, in exchange for money. To avoid detection, the deal is that they send me the money now, and then they pick up the item from an agreed-upon location on a specific date in the future.
- On the specified date, all of the buyers arrive at the specified location and discover that the object is present and nobody's stopping them from taking it ... except each other.
- I have pocketed the money and left town.
What is the name of the crime and/or tort I have committed? Who gets to keep the object? How have the courts handled this type of scam in the past? Is it handled differently if the "valuable physical object" is real estate? (It seems to me that this scam might be easier to execute with land, since nobody expects land to be delivered to them.)