What restitution can I seek for lost money on a stolen item I unknowingly purchased and then sold at a later date which is now being repossessed through a police report recently filed by the original owner?

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What restitution can I seek for lost money on a stolen item I unknowingly purchased and then sold at a later date which is now being repossessed through a police report recently filed by the original owner?

I purchased a dune buggy from a pawn shop 5 years ago for 800 and since then
have painted and had it redone to a value I sold it for two weeks ago of 4000.
The original owner had given the papers and registration to a guy who was
supposed to repair it, but instead he pawned it and was unable to get it back
out, therefore I bought it from him. He had all the necessary papers so there was
no way to know it was stolen. Recently, the original owner happened in my shop
and saw the dune buggy and recognized it and I am now having to repay the 4000
to get the dune buggy back, and giving the dune buggy back to the original owner.
What restitution can I seek for this? The original owner said he filed a police
report, but the information for the dune buggy would have been entered into our
system and easily found.

Asked on January 2, 2017 under Business Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can possibly sue the individual who sold it to you under false pretenses: he did not have the authority to pawn or sell it, so he committed "theft by deception" or "fraud" against you. He is the only one who may be liable to you, since he's the only one who acted wrongfully vis-a-vis you. Unfortunately, it *may* be too late to do this; the statute of limitations, or time within which you must start a lawsuit, for these things is three (3) years in your state. That said, there are legal doctrines or theories that can "toll," or delay or extend, the statute of limitations in some cases until such time as you did or reasonably could have discovered the cause of action or claim, so you may still be able to bring the lawsuit. Since he is the only chance you have at compensation, it most likely is worth it for you to try to sue him.


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