Craigslist car purchase turns into a financial loss for a Mesa man

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

MESA, Ariz. -- A Mesa man thought he got a pretty good deal on a used car, until he found out the car came with a lien.

Jason Martin paid $1,800 for the vehicle, but what he didn't know is that someone used the car as collateral before selling it.

"To me, a vehicle is very important to me, it helps me be more independent,” Martin said.

Martin started searching on Craigslist for a car after he recently received some money, and came across a 1999 Mazda Protégé that he really liked.

“I ran into a lot of different cars that I like, but this car, my Mazda Protege, I really fell in love with,” Martin stated.

Martin called the seller, a man by the name of Ricky, and they eventually met in person to see the car.

Martin liked the vehicle, but Ricky claimed he didn't have the title at that moment to give to him.

“When we got to the car, he said his wife was at work in Apache Junction and she has the title in her car. So he said when she got home from work he would bring the car down to me with the title,” Martin explained.

Martin paid the $1,800 in cash and agreed to get the title later. That decision turned out to be a mistake because Ricky disappeared.

“I haven't heard nothing back. I've been trying to call him, calling and calling over and over, leaving messages,” stated Martin.

Martin went to the Department of Motor Vehicles for help but after looking up the car's information he discovered that the vehicle has a $1,100 lien on it from a title loan company.

Technically, Martin’s already paid for the vehicle in full.  But if he wants to own and have the title he has to go to the title company and pay them the $1,100 loan that someone took out.

If he would have known this, Martin said he never would have bought the car.

The name on the title is Rebecca Kritzstein. Three On Your Side went to her Buckeye home, but was told she lives with her parents in Scottsdale.  

That information took 3 On Your Side to an upscale gated community where Kritzstein's mom said she didn't want to talk.

That's not good news for Martin.

“He gave me a car with no title and I gave him my trust and $1,800,” Martin said.

It's unknown what the connection is between Kritzstein and Ricky, but 3 On Your Side has discovered Ricky has been pretty busy selling cars lately. In fact, he listed nearly a half dozen different cars for sale on Craigslist in just a few weeks span.

Martin wonders if the other cars had liens on them like his did.

“I feel disappointed, I know what comes around goes around,” Martin stated.

Three On Your Side spoke to the title loan company and told them about Martin being a victim.

Due to the circumstances, they say if Martin comes up with just $250, instead of the required $1,100, they'll release the title.