Car owners may lose vehicles after used car dealer closes

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ST. CHARLES, MO (KPLR) - Imagine you`ve put all the cash you can muster into buying a used car, only to find  out you may lose the vehicle and the money.  We`ve heard from several people who bought cars from a St. Charles used car lot that abruptly closed its doors.

Mylenbusch Auto Sales on Second Street in St. Charles city abruptly closed its doors about a week and a half ago.  Sandy Wolf bought a car for her son in November.   She paid $2,100.  She never received the title.  And according to her, the owner explained the delay this way, 'He said there was a soldier over in Iraq somewhere that needed to sign the title and that`s what they were waiting on.'

While we were talking with Wolf, Larry Maak drove up.  He just bought a car the first week of January.  He has a title but he can`t get a safety inspection.  'They told me they wouldn`t touch it because the VIN numbers were all taken off of it.  And I have to go to Troop C and find out if the car was stolen or not.'

Troop C is Missouri Highway Patrol Headquarters in this area.  While Maak was telling me his story, this lady drove up.  She wants her title because the temporary tags will expire soon.  We had to get the other side on this one.  We found the attorney representing Erick Mylenbusch.   Joel Eisenstein says his client failed to pay the dealers who arranged for him to move their low end stock.  In essence the larger dealer still holds the title and rightfully owns the vehicle.  What does that mean for the folks who trusted the man in the middle?   'So it is my opinion that and my experience that those dealerships will likely work out some financing arrangement with these people.'

Wolf says she doesn`t have any more money to pay for a vehicle twice.  'The thing is once this plate is up, I`m out of a car I`m out the money and I can`t afford to go buy him another car.'

Eisenstein says Mylenbusch and another employee will have to explain their business practices. But they're just behind with their payments.   'There was not criminal intent on Mr. Mylenbusch`s part in any of these transactions.'

Missouri law says the title should be transferred very close to the time the business receives payment.  Attorney Eisenstein says Mylenbusch's assets have been liquidated to pay consumers back.  But it could be years before an order is issued.  He says his client is cooperating with St. Charles police and the Missouri Attorney General's office.

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