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Motor vehicle investigator duties and responsibilities

Under general direction, motor vehicle investigators perform field inspection and investigative work relating to vehicle registration, vehicle dealer licensing, vehicle theft exams on salvage vehicles, driver's license fraud, use tax fraud, odometer fraud and stolen vehicles. All positions are designated as state peace officers as defined in the Iowa Code.

Motor vehicle investigators work independently and are responsible for making decisions based upon information gathered. All 19 motor vehicle investigators report to the captains and major of the investigative unit, who in turn report to the chief of the Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement.

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

Vehicle title and registration

Motor vehicle 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. Also, the investigator investigates cases involving fraudulent applications for motor vehicle titles and violations pertaining to the ownership and transfer of motor vehicles. Investigates complaints of identity theft as they relate 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.

Use tax fraud

Use tax fraud investigations are conducted by investigators as they pertain to the sale and transfer of motor vehicles and aircraft that are subject to registration. The investigator obtains title records, bills of sale, 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

Drivers' license fraud investigations involve the fraudulent alteration, manufacture and fraudulent application for Iowa licenses. Investigators interview witnesses and suspects, and examine documents to determine their authenticity, and compile information for prosecution. Investigates complaints of identity theft as they relate to the application and issuance of Iowa driver's license and Iowa identification (ID) cards. Investigators also provide training to law enforcement agencies and the Iowa DOT's Motor Vehicle Division staff on the detection of driver's license fraud.

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.