UPDATE: 3OYS investigation leads to one arrest involving car title

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by Gary Harper

Bio | Email | Follow: @GaryHarper3TV

azfamily.com

Posted on September 18, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 19 at 12:25 PM

You might remember Kim Hegg from a 3 On Your Side report last month.

Hegg had purchased a Dodge Nitro through a private party transaction and paid $7,400, only to find out he can't register the vehicle with the state of Arizona.

That's because it was damaged so badly at one point that the state of Florida last year issued the vehicle a Certificate of Destruction, meaning the car was supposed to be put into an industrial crusher and compacted into a 4-foot by 4-foot metal cube.

So, 3 On Your Side got involved to see how someone was able to sell a useless vehicle to Hegg and because of our questions, Harold Sanders with the Arizona Department of Transportation said his agency launched an investigation.

"This all began when 3 On Your Side's Gary Harper called up and asked for our assistance," Sanders said.

According to Sanders, the state investigation led detectives to arrest Patricia Bermudez, 34, on charges of forgery and tampering with public records in relation to that Dodge Nitro Hegg bought.

Bermudez reportedly worked at a Mesa check-cashing store, which is actually authorized by the state to register cars and transfer titles.

And that's where Bermudez, according to ADOT investigators, allegedly helped create and issue a forged title for that Dodge Nitro.

"Of course, that forged document cannot be used to do anything legally with it because of the way it was created," Sanders said.

3 On Your Side has discovered that the Dodge Nitro's seller, a guy by the name of Nathan Orms, knew that the Dodge couldn't be registered or sold.

So, according to investigators, he took the vehicle to Bermudez's work where she had access to equipment capable of forging a new title.

Bermudez is currently out on bond. As for Orms, he's got bigger problems.

He hasn't been charged in connection with the scheme because he's currently serving time in an Ohio prison after pleading guilty to a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme.

And what about Hegg? Well, he remains stuck with a vehicle which looks new and seems to run fine. However, it is deemed unsafe and can't be registered to use on a public street.

That means he's out $7,400 that he paid for the vehicle.

Sanders said it's an unfortunate situation with not many options.

"This is the end of the road for that vehicle," he said. "Mr. Hegg can only sell the vehicle for scrap metal or so it can be dismantled."

Hegg said he'll consider parting out the vehicle to salvage yards. He's also optimistic he might be able to sell the car to a rancher or farmer to use on private property where registration is not required.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the charges against Patricia Bermudez.
 

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