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Investigator duties and responsibilities

Under general direction, investigators perform field inspection and investigative work relating to vehicle registration and title fraud, vehicle dealer licensing, theft examinations on salvage vehicles, driver's license fraud and related identity theft, fee for new registration fraud, odometer fraud, and stolen vehicles. All positions are designated as state peace officers as defined in the Iowa Code.

Investigators work independently and are responsible for making decisions based upon information gathered. Investigators report to either the Bureau of Investigation & Identity Protectionís deputy director or director, who in turn report to the Motor Vehicle Divisionís director.

The following is a brief description of duties performed by the motor vehicle investigator.

Vehicle title and registration

Investigators are responsible for assigning vehicle identification numbers to vehicles that have had the identification number lost, stolen or mutilated. When a vehicle is homemade or reconstructed, an investigator must examine it to check for compliance with the Iowa Code and Iowa DOT Administrative Rules. Responsibilities also include investigating cases involving fraudulent applications for motor vehicle titles, violations of the ownership and transfer of motor vehicles, and complaints of identity theft related to the application and issuance of Iowa registration and title documents.

Odometer fraud

Odometer fraud involves the fraudulent reduction of mileage on a vehicle to inflate its value. Investigators compile information and develop cases for possible prosecution on odometer fraud in cooperation with Iowa's Office of the Attorney General.

Fee for new registration fraud (formerly use tax fraud)

These investigations pertain to the sale and transfer of motor vehicles and aircraft subject to registration and when the purchase price may have been fraudulently represented or evaded. The investigator obtains title records, bills of sale, and cancelled checks; and conducts interviews to determine if a violation occurred. If criminal charges are warranted, the investigator files appropriate charges with the county attorney's office.

Driver's license fraud and related identity theft

These investigations involve the fraudulent alteration, manufacture, and application for Iowa driverís licenses and nonoperatorís identification (ID) cards. Investigators interview witnesses and suspects, examine documents to determine their authenticity, and compile information for prosecution. They investigate complaints of identity theft related to the application and issuance of Iowa driver's license and ID cards.Investigators also provide training to law enforcement agencies, the Iowa DOT's Motor Vehicle Division staff, along with a variety of other private and public agencies on the detection of driver's license fraud and related identity theft.

Motor vehicle dealer license

Investigators conduct on-site inspections for dealer license applicants to determine if the facility meets minimum state standards for licensing as a motor vehicle dealer. Audits of licensed dealers are also conducted to determine if there is compliance with the Iowa Code and Administrative Rules. Consumer complaints against licensed dealers are investigated by motor vehicle investigators.