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1367. Motor Vehicle Titles As "Securities"

The definition of the term "securities" in 18 U.S.C. § 2311 specifically includes a "valid or blank motor vehicle title." Consequently, a RICO prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq., can be predicated on the interstate transportation of a blank counterfeited motor vehicle title as well as on the interstate transportation of a completed counterfeit motor vehicle title.

The precise meaning of "valid" is not clear. Regardless of the meaning of "valid," the definition of security in 18 U.S.C. § 2311, however, is rendered basically insignificant by 18 U.S.C. § 513 which makes the counterfeiting or forging of state securities (including their blank forms) a federal crime. Since the definition of "security" in § 513 includes a certificate of interest in tangible property or a blank form thereof, it is now a federal offense to counterfeit or forge a motor vehicle title or a blank form thereof. No interstate transportation of the counterfeit or forged motor vehicle title is required.

It should be noted, however, that 18 U.S.C. § 513 is not a predicate offense for a RICO prosecution, while violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2314 and 2315 do qualify as predicate offenses.

[cited in JM 9-61.700]

Updated January 17, 2020