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Be careful when buying and selling a car; state will investigate “red flags”

This news story was published on December 2, 2012.
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AMES, Iowa – Roger Aaron Brandenburg, 46, of Farley, entered a plea of guilty Oct. 18, 2012, in Dubuque County court to one count of operating as a motor vehicle recycler without obtaining a license from the Iowa Department of Transportation and one count of fraudulent practice in the fifth degree for under-reporting the purchase price of a motor vehicle at the time of titling. The charges were a result of an investigation conducted by the Iowa DOT’s Motor Vehicle Enforcement – Investigative Unit.

This case serves as reminder to all Iowans about the importance of properly reporting the purchase price of used vehicles. Any purchase price that is considerably lower than fair market value raises a red flag in the Iowa DOT’s vehicle registration and titling system, and may result in an investigation.

Iowa takes violations of the vehicle registration laws very seriously. The “fee for registration” (formerly the use tax) collected on vehicle purchases is an important revenue source for building and maintaining Iowa’s highway system; violations of the law mean all highway users are shortchanged.

Illegal recycling and salvaging is another serious concern for Iowa. Not only does it negatively affect state revenue, it adversely impacts legitimate recycling businesses and is often associated with environmental problems due to improper disposal of toxic waste.

In this particular case, investigators found that Brandenburg sold 179 motor vehicles for scrap to a recycling facility in 2011. Iowa law states that a person shall not engage in the business of dismantling, scrapping, recycling or salvaging more than six vehicles subject to registration in a 12-month period without obtaining a recycler’s license. For his guilty plea, Brandenburg received two years’ probation, a suspended 180-day jail sentence and fine of $2,800 (including the surcharge and court costs).

The investigation also uncovered that Brandenburg underreported the purchase price on the application for title to a 2003 Chevy Silverado. Brandenburg stated a purchase price of $2,000, when he actually paid $4,800. By underreporting the purchase price, Brandenburg evaded $140 in fees for registration. Iowa law states that a person who willfully makes a false statement in regards to a purchase price is guilty of a fraudulent practice. By entering a guilty plea to this charge, Brandenburg was ordered to pay $140 in restitution, as well as pay an additional fine, surcharge and court costs totaling $455.

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8 Responses to Be careful when buying and selling a car; state will investigate “red flags”

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 3, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    This is the state of 1 pheasant per square mile and the home of insurance lobbyists 6 season deer permits – what do you expect when you kill all the does off – saves the insurance companies millions – next the north enders =

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 3, 2012 at 7:00 am

    DEALERS pay for these dealer plates – what! Think the state GIVES anything away to the private sector ?? Voted for obummer right ?

  3. Avatar

    Allen Reply Report comment

    December 2, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    By the looks of Iowa roads, everybody in the state must be doing this. Mr. Brandenburg you should be ashamed of yourself, cheating the state out of a couple thousand dollars. Just think how much concrete paving that would have bought, a foot or two. Then again what about the farmers, there are alot of people that don’t pay their fair share, this little guy just got caught.

  4. Avatar

    anonomys Reply Report comment

    December 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Its to bad the state of Iowa doesnt crack down on all the dealers that drive there personal vehicles around with there dealer plates on them, just think of the lost revenue there. All the dealers do it, you would think the state would see that!

    • Avatar

      Katie Reply Report comment

      December 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      Do they get by with it as advertising or something?

      • Avatar

        50 miles south Reply Report comment

        December 3, 2012 at 10:38 am

        the D actually stands for demonstrator. and to be used to demonstrate a vehicle. that is why you dont see a D plate on a wrecker or a flatbed used by the dealership. even using a D plate on a vehicle to get parts from the parts store is not allowed. Trust me I know first hand

  5. Avatar

    Good Advice Reply Report comment

    December 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Friends told me of this case last year in southern Iowa. Its good advice.

  6. Avatar

    Katie Reply Report comment

    December 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I wish the State were this obsessed with collecting use taxes on out-of-state and Internet purchases.