California: “Elaborate, decade-long towing scam”

by Walter Olson on May 28, 2010

According to prosecutors in Santa Clara County, a “lawsuit mill” formed part of an extensive “tow-and-sue” criminal scheme in which a towing operator sold towed cars without notifying the owners and then added insult to injury by going after the owners for storage and handling fees. Paul Stephen Greer, also known as Vincent Cardinalli Jr., pleaded no contest to fifty-nine felonies. Prosecutors say Greer, who operated tow trucks in Clovis, Gilroy and Hollister, sued parties that did not own the vehicles, arranged for falsified proof of service so as to obtain quick default judgments against defendants never apprised of his suits, and engaged in perjury. [San Jose Mercury-News, press release]

{ 2 comments }

1 Robert 05.28.10 at 3:29 pm

The Mercury News stories leaves a lot of questions unanswered. I wish they had contacted the judges who had ruled in their favor on their scam lawsuits. These judges should be exposed and pressured to resign….

2 Jay Markowitz 05.28.10 at 3:39 pm

A fellow in my company’s mailroom told me a story that when he was younger, he used to work for a tow company.
His job was to steal cars and then park them in a towing zone. The car would then be towed to the lot, where it was stripped of it’s plate, engine, tires, anything of value.
The tow lot would then hold onto the car for a time so when you finally got the call that they had your car, the storage fee, along with the impound charge, was considerable.
If you didn’t pay, the tow company would put a lien on the vehicle, eventually coming into possession. Then, they would put the engine, tires, etc. back onto the car.
He explained that there were CA laws in place that made this possible.

IANAL, so, urban myth?

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