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Long story short, my deceased father-in-law got taken on a deal to restore a classic car.  His brother "knew a guy" who supposedly fixed up cars and my FIL bought a classic Corvette from him that was to be restored (seller was to do the restoration).  FIL's brother also bought a classic car that was to be restored.  The guy never delivered at all, just took the initial $ and some additional funds to fix up the car.  FIL & his brother supposedly took him to court, and his brother is supposedly still pursuing the matter.  FIL was always somewhat secretive about the deal--I think he realized long ago that he got taken and just didn't want to talk about it.  FIL lives in VA, his brother lives in OH, so FIL let his brother handle the deal until it was apparent that nothing was going to come of it.  In helping MIL clean up their affairs after his death, I notice that she is still paying insurance on this car that was never delivered, and has never been seen by anyone.  MIL is content to write it off as a lesson learned, she doesn't want to deal with pursuing the legal aspect any more -- I tend to agree with her, she'd just be throwing good money after bad at this point.

Anyone have suggestions on how to handle the matter?  What is the liability if she drops the insurance, the car someday surfaces and is involved in an accident?  I have no idea what to tell her to do here.

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No(to create a double negative in response to your question). the car can be registered without the father ever seeing t... (more)

imbatman (Mar. 08, 2017 @ 1:46p) |

Subtle distinction here and others can chime in.

Yes you can report it stolen.  That's the easy part, it's just paperwork... (more)

gatzdon (Mar. 08, 2017 @ 1:54p) |

My MIL finally gave me a little info to go on. I have the name and (what, at the time was the) address of the fraudster... (more)

raringvt (Apr. 01, 2017 @ 8:47a) |

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raringvt said:   Anyone have suggestions on how to handle the matter?  What is the liability if she drops the insurance, the car someday surfaces and is involved in an accident?  I have no idea what to tell her to do here.Is the car titled in FIL (or MIL) name? If not, they don't own the car and therefore are not responsible.
  

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Yeah I'd cancel the insurance. I wouldn't be worried about insuring a car you've never seen that may never have even existed.

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NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
raringvt said:   Anyone have suggestions on how to handle the matter?  What is the liability if she drops the insurance, the car someday surfaces and is involved in an accident?  I have no idea what to tell her to do here.
Is the car titled in FIL (or MIL) name? If not, they don't own the car and therefore are not responsible.
  

I believe that it is still titled to FIL's name.  Per his will, MIL received all personal property at his death.  I believe that he has a title for the vehicle with a VIN # and all.  FIL's brother is terminally ill, so not sure I want to bother him with asking about what ever happened with the legal proceedings (and MIL doesn't really want to bother with it either).

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I would cancel the insurance and pretend it doesn't exist. But I'm not a lawyer type

There's a good shot the scammer already repoed the car for something like unpaid bills or storage costs, and got a new title to sucker someone else.

Since you have insurance, should have the Vin. Could run a carfax and see for sure, but I wouldn't even bother.

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How long ago did all this happen?  Where is the car supposedly garaged?  You have the title; I'd show up at the shop with a flatbed and demand your car.

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Not sure if this is a silly question, but shouldn't it be reported stolen?

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dcwilbur said:   How long ago did all this happen?  Where is the car supposedly garaged?  You have the title; I'd show up at the shop with a flatbed and demand your car.
I don't know how long ago, but my wife & I have been together for 17 years, and it was prior to that.  The guy could probably make a strong argument that the costs he has incurred to store the car for so long outweigh the value and/or any amounts paid for the car.  I think my MIL is doing the right thing to write it off at this point.  She isn't the type to show up anywhere making demands and I don't have a desire to get involved in a long-standing concern in a far away land that I know little to nothing about.

My only knowledge of the whole situation is from my MIL having make snarky comments about how he got suckered on the Corvette when she wanted to take him down a notch  I was shocked to find that they had still been paying insurance on it after so many years.  Then again, I was also shocked to find that they were still paying for AOL in 2013 when he died.

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They've been paying insurance on a car for at least 17 years that they've never even seen? That's pretty crazy.

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Rajjeq said:   They've been paying insurance on a car for at least 17 years that they've never even seen? That's pretty crazy.
 I'm not sure that's any more crazy than paying AOL!!

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If there is insurance, shouldn't the insurance have a VIN? From the VIN, couldn't you search State Records for ownership? From ownership records....

1. They own the vehicle, formally report it stolen to the insurance?

2. They don't own the vehicle, stop the insurance and ask for how much premiums they can get refunded. Don't know how far, but should be able to get some backdating on stopping the insurance.

Just thinking out loud here.

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gatzdon said:   If there is insurance, shouldn't the insurance have a VIN? From the VIN, couldn't you search State Records for ownership? From ownership records....

1. They own the vehicle, formally report it stolen to the insurance?

2. They don't own the vehicle, stop the insurance and ask for how much premiums they can get refunded. Don't know how far, but should be able to get some backdating on stopping the insurance.

Just thinking out loud here.

  
You are assuming the VIN is a real car, then a real WORKING car.  It could easily be the VIN of a totaled car or frame of the type they were "restoring."  That would pass almost all checks, even better the title could be a "dead" VIN and the one they are insuring the is one the scammer is driving that is very much like what they think they bought.  Free insurance for him, and if it ever falls apart he can deliver them the frame they "titled" and be free and clear.  He has his own car to show anyone that asks questions.  Or wants pictures of their "partially restored" car.

I mean the BEST scams are the legal ones, if you are the immoral unethical sort.

 

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RedWolfe01 said:   
 
I mean the BEST scams are the legal ones, if you are the immoral unethical sort.

 

  interesting

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Holy shit, after waiting a year (tops!) for my Corvette to be restored I'd have gone ape-shit let alone 17+ years. A freakin' Corvette?

Aging empty nesters collect the cars of their youth. This a great scam, just wait the old &^#^ers out and profit!

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Please report it stolen. Maybe it will help stop the thief and save the next person (probably my Father In Law) from getting scammed.

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ganda said:   Holy shit, after waiting a year (tops!) for my Corvette to be restored I'd have gone ape-shit let alone 17+ years. A freakin' Corvette?

I'd be showing up at somebody's door as well if it were mine. I'll never know the full story of what happened here; I think the brother of my FIL and the thief are the only 2 people that really know and the brother isn't long for this world. I may do the VIN check to see what comes up and see if I can get any court case info from the brother's kids when they clean out his documents after he dies. I'll have MIL stop paying insurance and see if she wants to bother with reporting anything--like I said, the brother supposedly took him to court at some point, but that's about all of the story I've ever gotten and MIL doesn't seem to have a clue about it.

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raringvt said:   
ganda said:   Holy shit, after waiting a year (tops!) for my Corvette to be restored I'd have gone ape-shit let alone 17+ years. A freakin' Corvette?

I'd be showing up at somebody's door as well if it were mine. I'll never know the full story of what happened here; I think the brother of my FIL and the thief are the only 2 people that really know and the brother isn't long for this world. I may do the VIN check to see what comes up and see if I can get any court case info from the brother's kids when they clean out his documents after he dies. I'll have MIL stop paying insurance and see if she wants to bother with reporting anything--like I said, the brother supposedly took him to court at some point, but that's about all of the story I've ever gotten and MIL doesn't seem to have a clue about it.

  Should be worth reporting as stolen while simultaneously canceling insurance to avoid the potential accident scenario you mentioned above since it is titled to MIL/FIL. IANAL but that documentation should free you from some sort of liability in that unlikely case.

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Maybe this guy is meticulous with his restorations.

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At this point there's no harm in posting the VIN here.

The internet sleuths will find it.

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Sorry, this story defies logic.

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Thrilla said:   Not sure if this is a silly question, but shouldn't it be reported stolen?
  if the car is in the FILs name. Not a silly question. report it stolen
 

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It's been 17 years since anyone has seen this car? Just cancel the insurance and don't bother with anything else. The "car" no longer exists.

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Chargum85 said:   At this point there's no harm in posting the VIN here.

The internet sleuths will find it.

 My only concern with doing that is that it would also reveal my FIL's identity which I'd prefer not to do given that my MIL is still alive & could probably be conned by someone too!!

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jamesfatwallet said:   Maybe this guy is meticulous with his restorations.
 That's probably it, I'm going to mail him a check to keep the restoration going.

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His dream car is gonna be pretty when it's done.. He'll probably get a chance to drive it soon if he's terminally ill.. Just think of all the Hot Rods and classic cars in Heaven..

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raringvt said:   
Chargum85 said:   At this point there's no harm in posting the VIN here.

The internet sleuths will find it.

 My only concern with doing that is that it would also reveal my FIL's identity which I'd prefer not to do given that my MIL is still alive & could probably be conned by someone too!!

  
So check the state record yourself to confirm it's in the expected name.  You should also be able to verify the status of any liens on the VIN.  If your FIL is not on the title, then there shouldn't be harm in posting the VIN here.

Another angle for support could be to contact the National Corvette Owners Association for help.  I think they also maintain records since there are only so many Corvettes made.  They may have information on either the VIN or the guy claiming the restore it for 17 years.  They may also be familiar with the scam and recommend a course of action to cash out and/or avoid responsibility for what the car is used for.

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imbatman said:   
Thrilla said:   Not sure if this is a silly question, but shouldn't it be reported stolen?
  if the car is in the FILs name. Not a silly question. report it stolen

  For liability reasons if nothing else, you should report it stolen.    A friend had an older car totaled by insurance ( it was just a fender bender, but car was only worth $1000 ).  Evidently salvage yard fixed it up and through some underhanded dealing, never re-titled.   Fast forward, a couple years, cops show up at the door because the car he owned was used in a string of robberies.
 

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Can you report a car stolen if it was never in your possession? Honest question.

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The DMV has never walked out into the parking lot to check out my ride when I register it. So there's that.

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scripta said:   Can you report a car stolen if it was never in your possession? Honest question.
  if it's titled in your name, it's your property, regardless of if it's ever been in your presence.
Do you define "possession" as "your property", or "possession" as "you've put your hands on it"

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Good point -- I meant "possession" as having it in your hands.

If you purchase an item and never receive that item, then your money was stolen, not the item.

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scripta said:   Good point -- I meant "possession" as having it in your hands.

If you purchase an item and never receive that item, then your money was stolen, not the item.

  Car was registered in OP father's name, that's stolen.

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forbin4040 said:   scripta said:   Good point -- I meant "possession" as having it in your hands.

If you purchase an item and never receive that item, then your money was stolen, not the item.
Car was registered in OP father's name, that's stolen.
Could it not have been registered without the father ever seeing the car?

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scripta said:   forbin4040 said:   scripta said:   Good point -- I meant "possession" as having it in your hands.

If you purchase an item and never receive that item, then your money was stolen, not the item.
Car was registered in OP father's name, that's stolen.
Could it not have been registered without the father ever seeing the car?


Any shop that's registered to sell cars can push all the paperwork through pretty easily, especially if the scammer is the one who owns the shop.

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scripta said:   
forbin4040 said:   
scripta said:   Good point -- I meant "possession" as having it in your hands.

If you purchase an item and never receive that item, then your money was stolen, not the item.

Car was registered in OP father's name, that's stolen.

Could it not have been registered without the father ever seeing the car?

 No(to create a double negative in response to your question). the car can be registered without the father ever seeing the car.

It could have been registered without the father ever seeing it.
that being said. OP never confirmed it WAS titled in his name, just that he believed it to be
https://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1558029?showmessage=198...


 

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scripta said:   Can you report a car stolen if it was never in your possession? Honest question.
  
Subtle distinction here and others can chime in.

Yes you can report it stolen.  That's the easy part, it's just paperwork.

Collecting on the Comprehensive Policy for the theft is another story.  The insurance could argue all kinds of unpredictable arguments including lack of timely notification.

The benefit of reporting it stolen is that it creates a legal line in the sand to minimize the impact of future claims against the owner should the vehicle end up in an accident or who know what else.  It also starts the process of putting it all in the past and moving on.  If nothing else, OP would get the satisfaction of staining the vehicle's VIN.  Personally, I would report it stolen to every Corvette registry/club/association I could find worldwide.  With only about 1.5 million ever made and I think the highest production year was only 50,000, there is a very good chance of preventing the VIN from being salable in the future (although it may have already been parted out an the only thing left is an insurance declarations page).

I would hard pressed to believe that anyone buying a corvette is not searching the VIN history.

Good Luck OP

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My MIL finally gave me a little info to go on. I have the name and (what, at the time was the) address of the fraudster. It was a 1959 corvette, FIL gave the guy $13,500 (in 1998). Supposedly MIL has a hand written, but signed and notarized agreement between FIL & fraudster for the restoration work to be done. I have what appears to be a written complaint/lawsuit document (July 2013) outlining the parties and the damages that is signed and notarized by FIL. I have the name of the attorney that handled the legal side of things. MIL is looking into what other docs she has from the lawsuit. So hard trying to piece together what happened going through senile MIL. Any idea how I could access court records?

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