VIN Fraud

As our classic cars gain in value, VIN fraud is becoming more and more common. Several people have asked to read the laws concerning VIN numbers, counterfeit VIN tags and VIN fraud in general. VIN fraud is covered by Federal Law and every state has their own additional laws which in some cases are more strict that the Federal Laws. I will add the state laws as I can find them for each state.

 

California VIN Laws

CALIFORNIA CODES
VEHICLE CODE
SECTION 10801-10804


10801. Any person who knowingly and intentionally owns or operates
a chop shop is guilty of a public offense and, upon conviction, shall
be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or
four years, or by a fine of not more than fifty thousand dollars
($50,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment, or by up to one year
in the county jail, or by a fine of not more than one thousand
dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.

10802. Any person who knowingly alters, counterfeits, defaces,
destroys, disguises, falsifies, forges, obliterates, or removes
vehicle identification numbers, with the intent to misrepresent the
identity or prevent the identification of motor vehicles or motor
vehicle parts, for the purpose of sale, transfer, import, or export,
is guilty of a public offense and, upon conviction, shall be punished
by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or two or three
years, or by a fine of not more than twenty-five thousand dollars
($25,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment, or by up to one year
in the county jail, or by a fine of not more than one thousand
dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.


10803. (a) Any person who buys with the intent to resell, disposes
of, sells, or transfers, more than one motor vehicle or parts from
more than one motor vehicle, with the knowledge that the vehicle
identification numbers of the motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts
have been altered, counterfeited, defaced, destroyed, disguised,
falsified, forged, obliterated, or removed for the purpose of
misrepresenting the identity or preventing the identification of the
motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts, is guilty of a public offense
and, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state
prison for two, four, or six years, or by a fine of not more than
sixty thousand dollars ($60,000), or by both the fine and
imprisonment, or by up to one year in the county jail, or by a fine
of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine
and imprisonment.
(b) Any person who possesses, for the purpose of sale, transfer,
import, or export, more than one motor vehicle or parts from more
than one motor vehicle, with the knowledge that the vehicle
identification numbers of the motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts
have been altered, counterfeited, defaced, destroyed, disguised,
falsified, forged, obliterated, or removed for the purpose of
misrepresenting the identity or preventing the identification of the
motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts, is guilty of a public offense
and, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state
prison for 16 months, or two or three years, or by a fine of not more
than thirty thousand dollars ($30,000), or by both the fine and
imprisonment, or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one
year or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or
by both the fine and imprisonment.

10804. (a) Section 10803 does not apply to a motor vehicle scrap
processor who, in the normal legal course of business and in good
faith, processes a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part by crushing,
compacting, or other similar methods, if any vehicle identification
number is not removed from the motor vehicle or motor vehicle part
prior to or during the processing.
(b) Section 10803 does not apply to any owner or authorized
possessor of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part which has been
recovered by law enforcement authorities after having been stolen or
if the condition of the vehicle identification number of the motor
vehicle or motor vehicle part is known to, or has been reported to,
law enforcement authorities. Law enforcement authorities are
presumed to have knowledge of all vehicle identification numbers on a
motor vehicle or motor vehicle part which are altered,
counterfeited, defaced, disguised, falsified, forged, obliterated, or
removed, when law enforcement authorities deliver or return the
motor vehicle or motor vehicle part to its owner or an authorized
possessor after it has been recovered by law enforcement authorities
after having been reported stolen.

CALIFORNIA CODES
VEHICLE CODE
SECTION 10900-10902


10900. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Motor
Vehicle Theft Prevention Act."

10901. (a) Pursuant to Section 1872.8 of the Insurance Code,
proceeds from the assessment imposed thereunder shall be used to fund
prevention and increased investigation of economic automobile theft.
Funds received pursuant to Section 1872.8 of the Insurance Code
shall be deposited in the Motor Vehicle Account and appropriated to
the Department of the California Highway Patrol for prevention and
enhanced investigative efforts to deter economic automobile theft.
(b) Moneys received by the commissioner pursuant to this section
shall be used to fund (1) enhanced programs to prevent and
investigate economic automobile theft; (2) a program directed at
investigating and interdicting the export of stolen motor vehicles
and stolen motor vehicle components across an international border;
and (3) to operate the CAL H.E.A.T. (Californians Help Eliminate Auto
Theft) program. Moneys received by a local law enforcement agency
pursuant to this section shall be used to fund enhanced programs to
prevent and investigate economic automobile theft and shall not be
used to supplant or replace funding of existing personnel or
equipment.
The commissioner shall submit an annual report to the Legislature,
no later than 90 days following the completion of the fiscal year,
accounting for all funds received and disbursed pursuant to this
section. The report shall detail (A) the uses to which those funds
were put, including payment of salaries and expenses, purchase of
equipment and supplies, and other expenditures by type; and (B)
results achieved as a consequence of expenditures made, including the
number of investigations, arrests, complaints filed, convictions,
and the number of vehicles recovered and amounts of property losses
saved.
(c) As used in this section, "economic automobile theft" means
automobile theft perpetrated for financial gain, including, but not
limited to, the following:
(1) Theft of a motor vehicle for financial gain.
(2) Reporting that a motor vehicle has been stolen for the purpose
of filing a false insurance claim.
(3) Engaging in any act prohibited by Chapter 3.5 (commencing with
Section 10801) of Division 4.
(4) Switching of vehicle identification numbers to obtain title to
a stolen motor vehicle.

10902. The Department of the California Highway Patrol shall
establish a program entitled "CAL H.E.A.T." (Californians Help
Eliminate Auto Theft) for the purpose of reducing the incidence of
economic auto theft in California. The program shall be an anti-auto
theft program with a toll-free telephone hotline operator funded by
the department using funds distributed to it pursuant to Section
10901. The hotline operator shall channel reports from the public
regarding auto thefts to state and local law enforcement agencies.
In the annual report, the commissioner shall report on the results of
this program, including the number of calls from the public
reporting a suspected motor vehicle theft, the number of arrests,
complaints filed, convictions, and vehicles recovered, and the amount
of property losses saved as a result of the program.
If funded by admitted insurers in this state, the program may
offer rewards for reports that lead to the arrest and conviction of a
person engaged in economic automobile theft. If so funded, the
Department of the California Highway Patrol shall establish a claims
board, which shall include appointments from state and local law
enforcement agencies and the insurance industry, to determine the
amount of individual awards.CALIFORNIA CODES
VEHICLE CODE
SECTION 5500-5505


5500. (a) Any person, other than a licensed dismantler, desiring to
disassemble a vehicle of a type required to be registered under this
code, either partially or totally, with the intent to use as parts
only, to reduce to scrap, or to construct another vehicle shall
deliver to the department the certificate of ownership, the
registration card, and the license plates last issued to the vehicle
before dismantling may begin.
(b) Any person who is convicted of violating subdivision (a) shall
be punished upon a first conviction by imprisonment in the county
jail for not less than five days or more than six months, or by a
fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50) or more than five hundred
dollars ($500), or by both that fine and imprisonment; and, upon a
second or any subsequent conviction, by imprisonment in the county
jail for not less than 30 days or more than one year, or by a fine of
not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) or more than one
thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.

5501. The provisions of Sections 4457, 4458, and 4459 shall not
apply when a vehicle is reported for dismantling. However, any
person desiring to dismantle a vehicle shall, in accordance with
Section 5500 or 11520, surrender to the department the certificate of
ownership, registration card, and license plate or plates last
issued for the vehicle. In the event the person so reporting is
unable to furnish the certificate of ownership, registration card,
and license plate or plates last issued to the vehicle, or any of
them, the department may receive the report and application, examine
into the circumstances of the case, and may require the filing of
suitable affidavits, or other information or documents. No duplicate
certificate of ownership, registration card, license plate or plates
will be issued when a vehicle is reported for dismantling. No fees
shall be required for acceptance of any affidavit provided pursuant
to this section or on account of any stolen, lost or damaged
certificate, card, plate or plates or duplicates thereof, unless the
vehicle is subsequently registered in accordance with Section 11519.


5505. (a) This section applies to any vehicle reported to be a
total loss salvage vehicle pursuant to Section 11515 and to any
vehicle reported to have been dismantled pursuant to Section 5500 or
11520.
(b) Whenever an application is made to the Department of Motor
Vehicles to register a vehicle described in subdivision (a), that
department shall inspect the vehicle to determine its proper identity
or request that the inspection be performed by the Department of the
California Highway Patrol.
(c) The Department of the California Highway Patrol shall inspect,
on a random basis, those vehicles described in subdivision (a) that
have been presented to the Department of Motor Vehicles for
registration after completion of the reconstruction process to
determine the proper identity of those vehicles. The inspection
conducted pursuant to this subdivision shall be a comprehensive,
vehicle identification number inspection.
(d) An individual in possession of a vehicle described in
subdivision (a), who is submitting the vehicle for registration as
described in subdivision (b), shall have available, and shall present
upon demand of the Department of the California Highway Patrol,
bills of sale, invoices, or other acceptable proof of ownership of
component parts, and invoices for minor component parts.
Additionally, bills of sale and invoices shall include the year,
make, model, and the vehicle identification number of the vehicle
from which the parts were removed or sold, the name and signature of
the person from whom the parts were acquired, and his or her address,
and telephone number. To assist in the identification of the seller
of new or used parts, the number of the seller's driver's license,
identification card, social security card, or Federal Employer
Identification Number shall be provided by the seller to the buyer on
the bills of sale and invoice. The seller of a salvage vehicle, or
the agent of the seller, shall inform the purchaser of the vehicle
that ownership documentation for certain replacement parts used in
the repair of the vehicle will be required in the inspection required
under this section.
(e) As used in this section, the term "component parts for
passenger motor vehicles" includes the cowl or firewall, front-end
assembly, rear clip, including the roof panel, the roof panel when
installed separately, and the frame or any portion thereof, or in the
case of a unitized body, the supporting structure that serves as the
frame, each door, the hood, each fender or quarter panel, deck lid
or hatchback, each bumper, both T-tops, replacement transmissions or
transaxles, and a replacement motor.
(1) As used in this subdivision, "front-end assembly" includes all
of the following: hood, fenders, bumper, and radiator supporting
members for these items. For vehicles with a unitized body, the
front-end assembly also includes the frame support members.
(2) As used in this subdivision, "rear clip" includes the roof,
quarter panels, trunk lid, floor pan, and the support members for
each item.
(f) As used in this section, "major component parts for trucks,
truck-type or bus-type vehicles" includes the cab, the frame or any
portion thereof, and, in the case of a unitized body, the supporting
structure which serves as a frame, the cargo compartment floor panel
or passenger compartment floor pan, roof panel, and replacement
transmissions or transaxles, and replacement motors, each door, hood,
each fender or quarter panel, each bumper, and the tailgate. All
component parts identified in subdivision (e), common to a truck,
truck-type or bus-type vehicle, not listed in this section, shall be
considered as included in this section if the part is replaced.
(1) "Major component parts for motorcycles" includes the engine or
motor, transmission or transaxle, frame, front fork, and crankcase.

(2) "Minor component parts for motorcycles" includes the fairing
and any other body molding.
(g) If the vehicle identification number, year, make, or model
required under subdivision (d) cannot be determined, the Department
of the California Highway Patrol may accept, in lieu of that
information, a certification on a form provided by that department,
signed by the person submitting the vehicle for inspection, that the
part was not obtained by means of theft or fraud.
(h) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1,
2003, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted
statute, that is enacted on or before January 1, 2003, deletes or
extends that date.

CALIFORNIA CODES
VEHICLE CODE
SECTION 10750-10752


10750. (a) No person shall intentionally deface, destroy, or alter
the motor number, other distinguishing number, or identification mark
of a vehicle required or employed for registration purposes without
written authorization from the department, nor shall any person place
or stamp any serial, motor, or other number or mark upon a vehicle,
except one assigned thereto by the department.
(b) This section does not prohibit the restoration by an owner of
the original vehicle identification number when the restoration is
authorized by the department, nor prevent any manufacturer from
placing in the ordinary course of business numbers or marks upon new
motor vehicles or new parts thereof.

10751. (a) No person shall knowingly buy, sell, offer for sale,
receive, or have in his or her possession, any vehicle, or component
part thereof, from which any serial or identification number,
including, but not limited to, any number used for registration
purposes, that is affixed by the manufacturer to the vehicle or
component part, in whatever manner deemed proper by the manufacturer,
has been removed, defaced, altered, or destroyed, unless the vehicle
or component part has attached thereto an identification number
assigned or approved by the department in lieu of the manufacturer's
number.
(b) Whenever a vehicle described in subdivision (a), including a
vehicle assembled with any component part which is in violation of
subdivision (a), comes into the custody of a peace officer, it shall
be destroyed, sold, or otherwise disposed of under the conditions as
provided in an order by the court having jurisdiction. No court
order providing for disposition shall be issued unless the person
from whom the property was seized, and all claimants to the property
whose interest or title is on registration records in the Department
of Motor Vehicles, are provided a postseizure hearing by the court
having jurisdiction within 90 days after the seizure. This
subdivision shall not apply with respect to a seized vehicle or
component part used as evidence in any criminal action or proceeding.
Nothing in this section shall, however, preclude the return of a
seized vehicle or a component part to the owner by the seizing agency
following presentation of satisfactory evidence of ownership and, if
determined necessary, upon the assignment of an identification
number to the vehicle or component part by the department.
(c) Whenever a vehicle described in subdivision (a) comes into the
custody of a peace officer, the person from whom the property was
seized, and all claimants to the property whose interest or title is
on registration records in the Department of Motor Vehicles, shall be
notified within five days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and
holidays, after the seizure, of the date, time, and place of the
hearing required in subdivision (b). The notice shall contain the
information specified in subdivision (d).
(d) Whenever a peace officer seizes a vehicle described in
subdivision (a), the person from whom the property was seized shall
be provided a notice of impoundment of the vehicle which shall serve
as a receipt and contain the following information:
(1) Name and address of person from whom the property was seized.

(2) A statement that the vehicle seized has been impounded for
investigation of a violation of Section 10751 of the California
Vehicle Code and that the property will be released upon a
determination that the serial or identification number has not been
removed, defaced, altered, or destroyed, or upon the presentation of
satisfactory evidence of ownership of the vehicle or a component
part, if no other person claims an interest in the property;
otherwise, a hearing regarding the disposition of the vehicle shall
take place in the proper court.
(3) A statement that the person from whom the property was seized,
and all claimants to the property whose interest or title is on
registration records in the Department of Motor Vehicles, will
receive written notification of the date, time, and place of the
hearing within five days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays,
after the seizure.
(4) Name and address of the law enforcement agency where evidence
of ownership of the vehicle or component part may be presented.
(5) A statement of the contents of Section 10751 of the Vehicle
Code.
(e) A hearing on the disposition of the property shall be held by
the municipal or justice court within 90 days after the seizure. The
hearing shall be before the court without a jury.
(1) If the evidence reveals either that the serial or
identification number has not been removed, defaced, altered, or
destroyed or that the number has been removed, defaced, altered, or
destroyed but satisfactory evidence of ownership has been presented
to the seizing agency or court, the property shall be released to the
person entitled thereto. Nothing in this section precludes the
return of the vehicle or a component part to a good faith purchaser
following presentation of satisfactory evidence of ownership thereof
upon the assignment of an identification number to the vehicle or
component part by the department.
(2) If the evidence reveals that the identification number has
been removed, defaced, altered, or destroyed, and satisfactory
evidence of ownership has not been presented, the vehicle shall be
destroyed, sold, or otherwise disposed of as provided by court
order.
(3) At the hearing, the seizing agency has the burden of
establishing that the serial or identification number has been
removed, defaced, altered, or destroyed and that no satisfactory
evidence of ownership has been presented.
(f) This section does not apply to a scrap metal processor engaged
primarily in the acquisition, processing, and shipment of ferrous
and nonferrous scrap, and who receives dismantled vehicles from
licensed dismantlers, licensed junk collectors, or licensed junk
dealers as scrap metal for the purpose of recycling the dismantled
vehicles for their metallic content, the end product of which is the
production of material for recycling and remelting purposes for steel
mills, foundries, smelters, and refiners.

10752. (a) No person shall, with intent to prejudice, damage,
injure, or defraud, acquire, possess, sell, or offer for sale any
genuine or counterfeit manufacturer's serial or identification number
from or for, or purporting to be from or for, a vehicle or component
part thereof.
(b) No person shall, with intent to prejudice, damage, injure, or
defraud, acquire, possess, sell, or offer for sale any genuine or
counterfeit serial or identification number issued by the department,
the Department of the California Highway Patrol, or the vehicle
registration and titling agency of any foreign jurisdiction which is
from or for, or purports to be from or for, a vehicle or component
part thereof.
(c) Every person convicted of a violation of subdivision (a) or
(b) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison, or in the
county jail for not less than 90 days nor more than one year, and by
a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more
than five thousand dollars ($5,000).


6700.3. (a) An application by a nonresident daily commuter for
indicia and an identification card pursuant to Section 6700.25 shall
be filed with the department.
(b) The department shall prescribe a form to be completed by the
applicant which shall include all of the following information:
(1) The vehicle license number and the vehicle identification
number (VIN) of the vehicle that will display the nonresident daily
commuter indicia.
(2) The name of the registered owner of the vehicle that will
display the indicia.
(3) A statement that the applicant is a nonresident daily commuter
as defined in Section 435.5.
(4) A statement that the indicia will be displayed upon a
qualified vehicle as specified in Section 6700.4.
(5) A statement that the place of employment of the nonresident
daily commuter is within the 35-mile corridor specified in
subdivision (d) of Section 6700.25.

4166. The department may assign a distinguishing vehicle
identification number to a motor vehicle whenever the motor or other
identifying number thereon is removed, destroyed or obliterated, and
any motor vehicle to which a distinguishing vehicle identification
number is assigned as authorized herein shall be registered under the
number so assigned when registration of the motor vehicle is
required under this code.

250. A "chop shop" is any building, lot, or other premises where
any person has been engaged in altering, destroying, disassembling,
dismantling, reassembling, or storing any motor vehicle or motor
vehicle part known to be illegally obtained by theft, fraud, or
conspiracy to defraud, in order to do either of the following:
(a) Alter, counterfeit, deface, destroy, disguise, falsify, forge,
obliterate, or remove the identity, including the vehicle
identification number, of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part, in
order to misrepresent the identity of the motor vehicle or motor
vehicle part, or to prevent the identification of the motor vehicle
or motor vehicle part.
(b) Sell or dispose of the motor vehicle or motor vehicle part.

431. A "nonrepairable vehicle" is a vehicle of a type otherwise
subject to registration that meets the criteria specified in
subdivision (a), (b), or (c). The vehicle shall be issued a
nonrepairable vehicle certificate and the vehicle, the vehicle frame,
or unitized frame and body, as applicable, and as defined in Section
670.5, shall not be titled or registered.
(a) A nonrepairable vehicle is a vehicle that has no resale value
except as a source of parts or scrap metal, and which the owner
irreversibly designates solely as a source of parts or scrap metal.
(b) A nonrepairable vehicle is a completely stripped vehicle (a
surgical strip) recovered from theft, missing all of the bolt on
sheet metal body panels, all of the doors and hatches, substantially
all of the interior components, and substantially all of the grill
and light assemblies, or that the owner designates has little or no
resale value other than its worth as a source of scrap metal, or as a
source of a vehicle identification number that could be used
illegally.
(c) A nonrepairable vehicle is a completely burned vehicle (burned
hulk) that has been burned to the extent that there are no more
usable or repairable body or interior components, tires and wheels,
or drive train components, and which the owner irreversibly
designates as having little or no resale value other than its worth
as scrap metal or as a source of a vehicle identification number that
could be used illegally.

432. A "nonrepairable vehicle certificate" is a vehicle ownership
document issued to the owner of a nonrepairable vehicle. Ownership
of the vehicle may only be transferred two times on a nonrepairable
vehicle certificate. A vehicle for which a nonrepairable vehicle
certificate has been issued may not be titled or registered for use
on the roads or highways of California. A nonrepairable vehicle
certificate shall be conspicuously labeled with the word
"nonrepairable" across the front.

11713.8. It is unlawful and a violation of this code for a
remanufacturer licensed under this code to fail to do any of the
following:
(a) Report to the department an existing vehicle identification
number when a used frame is utilized.
(b) Die stamp the vehicle identification number to the frame of
the vehicle when a new vehicle identification number is assigned.
(c) Disclose that a vehicle is remanufactured and contains used or
reconditioned parts as required by Section 11713.7.
(d) Remove the trade name of the original manufacturer from the
vehicle, unless the remanufacturer and the original manufacturer are
same.
(e) Maintain for three years bills of sale or invoices for used
parts utilized in a remanufactured vehicle.
(f) Maintain for three years proof that the vehicle was reported
dismantled, as required by Section 5500 or 11520, when a used frame
is utilized in a remanufactured vehicle.
(g) Disclose, on the vehicle identification number plate or label,
that the vehicle is remanufactured and includes used parts.
(h) Disclose to the dealer on a document signed by the dealer that
the vehicle is remanufactured and contains used parts.

 
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