Legal Question in Criminal Law in Virginia

Is Car Dealer at fault

I purchased a vehicle through a local dealer a few years back. It was suppossed to be in my name with my brother-in-law as a co-signer. I made all the payments & he & I signed an agreement stating that I was responsible for the payments, insurance, etc. on the vehicle. It was totaled in December 2000. I went back to the same dealer to get another vehicle & found out that my name was not on the contract after making 18 months worth of payments. I submitted 7 months of cancelled checks. I got another vehicle through them & they transferred all the information from the first vehicle & added my name on the new loan. The man in the finance dept. who printed out the papers told my husband to sign my brother-in-law's name since he was not present. Everywhere he signed he put his initials to show that his brother was not the originial signer. The bank has repossed, alleging fraud & want to prosecute. Who is at fault.

Asked on 7/06/01, 8:04 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael Hendrickson Law Office Michael E. Hendrickson

Re: Is Car Dealer at fault

The bank was making the vehicle loan, apparently,

based on the credit-worthiness of your brother-in-

in law--and not your credit-worthiness. When your

husband signed (without apparent authority to do so) the name of his brother to the loan contract,

he essentially was perpetrating a fraud upon lender. Mitigating circumstances would be that he did it at the behest of the finance man

and that he at least put his own initials next to

the legally invalid signature.(The results speak for themselves, i.e., this was a pretty dumb thing to do.) You, if you in any way, knowingly participated in this invalid contract, as well as your husband, are clearly at fault. (The finance man might be held as an accessory before the fact).

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Answered on 7/10/01, 11:37 am

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