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.

 

Federal VIN Laws

From the U.S. Code Online via GPO Access
[wais.access.gpo.gov]
[Laws in effect as of January 20, 2004]
[Document not affected by Public Laws enacted between
January 20, 2004 and December 23, 2004]
[CITE: 18USC511]


TITLE 18--CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

PART I--CRIMES

CHAPTER 25--COUNTERFEITING AND FORGERY

Sec. 511. Altering or removing motor vehicle identification
numbers

(a) A person who--
(1) knowingly removes, obliterates, tampers with, or alters an
identification number for a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part; or
(2) with intent to further the theft of a motor vehicle,
knowingly removes, obliterates, tampers with, or alters a decal or
device affixed to a motor vehicle pursuant to the Motor Vehicle
Theft Prevention Act,

shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or
both.
(b)(1) Subsection (a) of this section does not apply to a removal,
obliteration, tampering, or alteration by a person specified in
paragraph (2) of this subsection (unless such person knows that the
vehicle or part involved is stolen).
(2) The persons referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection
are--
(A) a motor vehicle scrap processor or a motor vehicle
demolisher who complies with applicable State law with respect to
such vehicle or part;
(B) a person who repairs such vehicle or part, if the removal,
obliteration, tampering, or alteration is reasonably necessary for
the repair;
(C) a person who restores or replaces an identification number
for such vehicle or part in accordance with applicable State law;
and
(D) a person who removes, obliterates, tampers with, or alters a
decal or device affixed to a motor vehicle pursuant to the Motor
Vehicle Theft Prevention Act, if that person is the owner of the
motor vehicle, or is authorized to remove, obliterate, tamper with
or alter the decal or device by--
(i) the owner or his authorized agent;
(ii) applicable State or local law; or
(iii) regulations promulgated by the Attorney General to
implement the Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act.

(c) As used in this section, the term--
(1) ``identification number'' means a number or symbol that is
inscribed or affixed for purposes of identification under chapter
301 and part C of subtitle VI of title 49;
(2) ``motor vehicle'' has the meaning given that term in section
32101 of title 49;
(3) ``motor vehicle demolisher'' means a person, including any
motor vehicle dismantler or motor vehicle recycler, who is engaged
in the business of reducing motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts to
metallic scrap that is unsuitable for use as either a motor vehicle
or a motor vehicle part;
(4) ``motor vehicle scrap processor'' means a person--
(A) who is engaged in the business of purchasing motor
vehicles or motor vehicle parts for reduction to metallic scrap
for recycling;
(B) who, from a fixed location, uses machinery to process
metallic scrap into prepared grades; and
(C) whose principal product is metallic scrap for recycling;

but such term does not include any activity of any such person
relating to the recycling of a motor vehicle or a motor vehicle part
as a used motor vehicle or a used motor vehicle part.

(d) For purposes of subsection (a) of this section, the term
``tampers with'' includes covering a program decal or device affixed to
a motor vehicle pursuant to the Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act for
the purpose of obstructing its visibility.

(Added Pub. L. 98-547, title II, Sec. 201(a), Oct. 25, 1984, 98 Stat.
2768; amended Pub. L. 103-272, Sec. 5(e)(3), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat.
1373; Pub. L. 103-322, title XXII, Sec. 220003(a)-(c), Sept. 13, 1994,
108 Stat. 2076, 2077; Pub. L. 104-294, title VI, Sec. 604(b)(8), Oct.
11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3507.)

References in Text

The Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act, referred to in subsecs.
(a)(2), (b)(2)(D), and (d), is title XXII of Pub. L. 103-322, Sept. 13,
1994, 108 Stat. 2074, which enacted section 511A of this title and
section 14171 of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare, amended this
section, and enacted provisions set out as a note under section 13701 of
Title 42. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short
Title note set out under section 13701 of Title 42 and Tables.

Codification

Another section 511 was renumbered section 513 of this title.


Amendments

1996--Subsec. (b)(2)(D). Pub. L. 104-294 realigned margins.
1994--Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 103-322, Sec. 220003(a), amended subsec.
(a) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (a) read as follows:
``Whoever knowingly removes, obliterates, tampers with, or alters an
identification number for a motor vehicle, or motor vehicle part, shall
be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years,
or both.''
Subsec. (b)(2)(D). Pub. L. 103-322, Sec. 220003(b), added subpar.
(D).
Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 103-272, Sec. 5(e)(3)(A), substituted
``chapter 301 and part C of subtitle VI of title 49'' for ``the National
Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, or the Motor Vehicle
Information and Cost Savings Act''.
Subsec. (c)(2). Pub. L. 103-272, Sec. 5(e)(3)(B), substituted
``section 32101 of title 49'' for ``section 2 of the Motor Vehicle
Information and Cost Savings Act''.
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 103-322, Sec. 220003(c), added subsec. (d).


Effective Date of 1996 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 104-294 effective Sept. 13, 1994, see section
604(d) of Pub. L. 104-294, set out as a note under section 13 of this
title.

 
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