Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX X'm a Bankruptcy litigation attorney practicing in Tennessee.
You need to get a local bankruptcy lawyer to try and resolve this with you. The worst case scenario is that the money that you paid for the vehicle has been spent on something other than to pay off the vehicle. If that happened, your money is gone and the lender is going to be allowed to recover the car because its lien was not satisfied.
This is going to leave you without the vehicle and out of $28,000.00. Your option would then be to sue the person for fraud, material misrepresentation and possibly file criminal charges for selling you a vehicle and not retiring the debt owed on it. The good news is that if the seller committed fraud, the debt will not be discharged in bankruptcy, and he'll owe it until he pays you back. The bad news is that this could take a long time.
If you can get the bankruptcy trustee involved, he/she should be able to track the money you paid and find out where it went. The trustee also has the right to reverse those transactions and try to get your money back.
It may cost you a little money to get this done, but if you don't you're going to be out a lot more.
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