Is it illegal to finance something, then sell the item but never tell finance company and stop making payments?

Asked on January 18, 2013 under Criminal Law, South Carolina


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You would certainly be subject to civil penalties for doing so... but you could also face criminal liability depending on how aggressive your local prosecutors are.  You could be accused of theft by fraud or deception if the finance company alleges and the state can prove that you entered into the agreement never intending to actually pay the full amount.  You could also be charged with theft if you take money for something that you know is subject to a security interest, and thus could be reposed later.  The victim in this type of case would be the person that you resold the item to.

If you want to avoid any trouble, talk to your finance company first about disposing of secured property.  If they do agree to anything, also ask them to put it in writing so that you won't get burned by their change of heart or poor memories later.

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