§ 11-18-20. Obtaining vehicles with intent to defraud.
(a) By trick or false representation. Whoever with intent to defraud the owner or any person lawfully possessing any motor vehicle obtains the custody of the motor vehicle by trick, deceit, fraudulent or willful false representation, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished as provided in this section.
(b) Hiring with intent to defraud. Whoever with intent to defraud the owner or any person lawfully possessing any motor vehicle, or the rental of a motor vehicle, hires a vehicle from the owner, or the owner's agents or any person in lawful possession of it, shall, upon conviction, be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor. The absconding without paying or offering to pay the hire shall be prima facie evidence of fraudulent intent.
(c) Failure to redeliver hired vehicle. Whoever, after hiring a motor vehicle under an agreement to redeliver the vehicle to the person letting the motor vehicle or that person's agent, at the termination of the period for which it was let, shall, without the consent of that person or those persons and with intent to defraud, abandon, or willfully refuse or neglect to redeliver the vehicle as agreed shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor. The failure to return the motor vehicle within seventy-two (72) hours of the time agreed shall be prima facie evidence of fraudulent intent and the vehicle shall be considered "stolen" for purposes of reporting the offense to the local police.
(d) Tampering with mileage device. Whoever, after hiring a motor vehicle from any person or persons under an agreement to pay for the use of the motor vehicle a sum of money determinable either in whole or in part upon the distance the motor vehicle travels during the period for which hired, removes, attempts to remove, tampers with, or attempts to tamper with or otherwise interfere with any odometer or other mechanical device attached to the hired motor vehicle for the purpose of registering the distance the vehicle travels, with the intent to deceive the person or persons letting the vehicle or their lawful agent as to the actual distance traveled, shall, upon conviction, be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor. Any person who shall knowingly aid, abet or assist another in violating the provisions of this subsection shall be proceeded against as a principal or as an accessory before the fact, and, upon conviction, shall suffer the same punishment as that to the principal offender is subject. Any person violating the provisions of this subsection may be charged with a violation in the city or town or county, as the case may be, where the odometer or other mechanical device:
(1) Is removed, or attempted to be removed, or tampered with; or attempted to be tampered with, or is otherwise interfered with;
(2) Where the persons knowingly aid, abet, or assist another to so remove, tamper with or otherwise interfere with the odometer or other mechanical device; or
(3) Where any part of the motor vehicle upon which is attached the odometer or other mechanical device is removed or attempted to be removed.
Any person convicted of violation of any provision of subsection (a), (b), (c) or (d) of this section shall be imprisoned for a term of not more than one year, or by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500), or both.
(G.L. 1896, ch. 279, § 40; G.L. 1909, ch. 345, § 44; G.L. 1923, ch. 397, § 44; G.L. 1938, ch. 608, § 44; G.L. 1956, § 11-18-20; P.L. 1965, ch. 179, § 2; P.L. 1997, ch. 78, § 1.)