McMinn Co. woman says she had to pay to get stolen car back
MCMINN COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -
An elderly McMinn County woman says her daughter sold her car without her permission and she had to borrow money to buy her own car back from a dealership. Now Athens Police are looking into the case to see if the daughter committed fraud.
Seventy-three-year-old Maudine Carter is in poor health and lives on a fixed income and she says that is why it hurts so much she had to come up with the money to buy her car back. She is also sad her daughter may end up facing criminal charges.
"Yeah, it is hard to look at it," says Carter, speaking of her car.
Carter's maroon Saturn sits in her driveway now only after a fight to get it back.
"I told her not to sell that car. But she said they didn't have no food or cigarettes," says Carter.
Carter says her daughter threatened to sell the car, after her husband passed away a month ago, saying the "vehicle was owed to her for the care she had given her father" before he died.
"She made a statement, before anybody got that car, she'd burn it to the ground," says Carter.
Last week, Carter received a surprising phone call from her other daughter, Barbara Ann. She told her she was out to eat with her husband at a restaurant across the street from the 'Best Bet' car lot in Athens.
"I told my husband, I said, 'Did you see that?' He said, 'See What?' That's momma and daddy's car there!'" says Barbara Ann Boruff.
Unbeknownst to Carter, her car sat in the lot and was up for sale for $1,695. Barbara and her husband immediately went to the owner.
"He said there's no way my mother-in-law signed the title off on this car," says Boruff.
The dealership said the transaction was legal. But Maudine still filed a police report against her daughter. The dealership says her daughter presented notarized paperwork showing she had power of attorney for a vehicle transaction.
"This is not legal. The paperwork is not legal," says Boruff.
"I knew that wasn't my signature," says Carter.
When Channel 3 stopped by Best Bet, the owner was not there. He later told us over the phone the dealership bought the car from the daughter for $500. When Carter asked for the car back, the owner tried to make it right. He agreed to sell it back for the same price he paid, already losing the money he spent to clean it up.
Carter borrowed the money from a friend to buy her car back.
"I've got to pay him back by the third. When I get my check and pay him back, I ain't got very much left," says Carter.
The daughter could possibly face forgery and theft charges. The Athens Police Department says it is still an open investigation. The officer on the case still needs to meet with the person who notarized the paperwork.