Trafficking in Certain Motor Vehicles or Motor
Section 2321 of Title 18 makes it an offense to deal in motor
or motor vehicle components knowing that the identification numbers have
falsified or removed. The term "identification number" is identical to the
definition in 18 U.S.C. § 511.|
There is no need to prove that such vehicles or parts have been
transported in interstate or foreign commerce. Neither 18 U.S.C.
§ 511 cover the simple possession of a vehicle or component with a
or removed identification number. Section 511 is limited to the person who
removes or falsifies the identification number or who aids or abets such
Section 2321 covers the trafficker in such vehicles or components, not a
possessor. The component parts covered by 18 U.S.C. § 2321 are
those covered by 18 U.S.C. § 511. See this Manual at 1375
Section 2321 of Title 18 should be of assistance in dealing with
various salvage switch schemes (sometimes referred to as "VIN switching,"
"retagging" or "replating") where the VIN of a salvage motor vehicle and its
"papers" (i.e., title) are transferred to a stolen motor vehicle of the same
and model. In executing this motor vehicle theft scheme, the defendant
or acquires a salvage vehicle at an insurance auction. He then steals or
stolen a vehicle of similar make and model year and then transfers the VIN
salvage vehicle to the stolen vehicle. He then disposes of the stolen
under its new identity. Because passenger cars from model year 1970 to date
been required by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to have VIN plates,
U.S.C. § 2321 would apply to any passenger car VIN switch occurring
date of enactment (October 25, 1984). However, since the DOT component
marking program began with model year 1987, violations of 18 U.S.C. §
based on altered, removed, or obliterated parts identification numbers,
occur until after introduction of the 1987 model year limits. The VINs of
other road vehicles are covered from model years 1981 to date. See
Manual at 1374 (Effective Date).
For a discussion of proving violations of 18 U.S.C. § 2321, see
this Manual at 1376.
[cited in USAM 9-61.700]