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.

 

Wisconsin VIN Laws

WISCONSIN VEHICLE TITLE AND ANTI-THEFT LAW

CHAPTER 342

VEHICLE TITLE AND ANTI-THEFT LAW SUBCHAPTER III

ANTI-THEFT AND ANTI-FRAUD PROVISIONS

342.30 Identification numbers. (1c) In this section,
“owner” includes the lessee of a vehicle if the vehicle is registered,
or required to be registered, by the lessee under ch. 341.
(1g) No person may remove, alter or obliterate or intentionally make it impossible to read, as required under sub. (2), an identification number.
This subsection does not apply to the obliteration of an identification number which occurs in the process of crushing a vehicle or vehicle part for scrap.

Cross Reference: See also ch. Trans 155, Wis. adm. code.

(1m) When the department is satisfied as to the ownership of a vehicle subject to registration which has not been numbered by
the manufacturer or on which the original number has been removed, obliterated or altered or on which the original casting
has been replaced or on which a new identification number is required under s. 342.06 (1) (f), the department shall assign a new
identification number for each such vehicle.

(2) Except as provided in this subsection, an identification number assigned by the department to a vehicle shall be permanently affixed to a
location on the vehicle that is readily visible when observed from outside the vehicle, as specified by the department by rule. Identification numbers
assigned for cycles shall be stamped on the left side, near the top of the engine casting just below the cylinder barrel. Such stamping or affixing shall be
done under the supervision of a dealer, distributor or manufacturer registered under s. 341.51 or under the supervision of a peace officer. The person
supervising the stamping or affixing shall make a report thereof to the department.

(2m) (a) A traffic officer or person authorized to enforce nonmoving traffic violations may use reasonable means to gain access to a vehicle if that vehicle’s identification number cannot be read as required under sub. (2). (b) Any person acting under par. (a) is immune from civil and criminal liability for good faith actions taken within the scope of that person’s official duties.

(3) (a) Any person who violates sub. (1g) is guilty of a Class H felony. (b) 1. Any owner of a vehicle for which the department has issued a new identification number who fails to have such number attached or stamped as required by sub. (2) may be required to forfeit not more than $200. 2. Any owner of a vehicle for which the department has issued a new identification number who with intent to defraud fails to have such number attached or stamped as required by sub. (2) may be required to forfeit not more than $1,000.

(4) (a) If a law enforcement agency finds a vehicle or part of a vehicle on which the identification number has been removed, altered or obliterated or made impossible to read, the law enforcement agency may seize the vehicle or part of a vehicle. If the identification number cannot be identified, the seized vehicle or vehicle part is presumed to be contraband. Except as provided in par. (d), if the identification number can be identified, the agency may return the vehicle to the owner. Except as provided in par. (b), the district attorney shall institute forfeiture proceedings under s. 973.076 regarding any vehicle or vehicle part that is seized under this paragraph and not returned to the owner. (b) If the district attorney brings a criminal action arising out of the seizure under par. (a), the district attorney shall not institute forfeiture proceedings under s. 973.076 before there is a final determination in the criminal action. (c) Paragraph (a) does not apply to the obliteration of an identification number that occurs in the process of crushing a vehicle or vehicle part for scrap. (d) If the identification number of a motorcycle or part of a motorcycle seized under par. (a) can be identified and if no forfeiture proceeding is commenced under s. 973.076 within 30 days after the seizure of the property, the custodian of the seized property shall immediately return the seized property to the owner named in the certificate of title or registration. If a motorcycle or part of a motorcycle is not returned to the owner named in the certificate of title or registration as required in this paragraph, and if the owner of the property commences a replevin action to recover possession of the property, and if the judge finds that the custodian of the property unreasonably retained the property after 30 days after the seizure, the court shall award the owner the costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred in the replevin action.

 
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