I Bought a Stolen Machine . . . So What?

September 28, 2010

Q “What will happen if a police officer learns I’m in possession of stolen equipment?” 

NER asked Detective Dan Rossman, of the Cobb County Sheriff’s Auto Theft Squad in Georgia: 

A  "Most likely, law enforcement officers will seize the equipment and return it to the victim or the insurance company, and you will lose all rights to it.
"If you don’t have proof that you purchased the equipment legitimately, you may be facing arrest for possession of stolen property. If convicted, you could face thousands of dollars in fines and up to ten years in prison.

"However, if you can prove you purchased the equipment in good faith, you may avoid arrest and may be able to recoup your money from the seller in civil court. Examples of proof that you purchased in good faith are: 

• a legible bill of sale with full names, address, phone number, and an accurate description of
the machine, including serial numbers
• proof of payment — such as a canceled check or credit card receipt — for a reasonable price,
not far below market value 

"Inquiring through law enforcement or other databases, such as NER’s IRONcheck®, would help establish good faith on your part."

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Source: NER