February 16, 2005
Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Consumer Affairs
Commissioner Gretchen Dykstra, Brooklyn DA Charles J.
Hynes, Queens DA Richard Brown, and Bronx DA Robert T.
Johnson announce the arrest of 34 individuals for falsifying
information in order to participate in the Citys
Rotation Tow program. Those arrested are the owners and
employees of several towing companies who submitted fraudulent
documents. In addition to the arrests, officers seized
14 tow trucks and approximately $200,000 in illegal assets.
During the investigation, officers learned that some
addresses registered by the tow companies did not exist
or were erroneous. In other circumstances, the registrants
failed to disclose pertinent details such as having a
pre-existing auto related operation. Any one of these
falsifications is grounds for disqualification from the
program. Additionally, many of the owners and employees
of these businesses have criminal histories with auto
Among those arrested was an individual who went out of
business in 1997 and was using his residence as the business
address. Another person used his deceased father as the
applicant on his renewal application. The Auto Crime Division
also arrested two known members of the Bonanno crime family
as part of this investigation.
Commissioner Kelly said: These individuals illegally
manipulated the system for profit and disregarded the
law. They fabricated information and expected no one to
notice. What they did not expect was the diligence of
our officers. Congratulations to the members of the Department
and the other agencies who made this investigation such
We applaud the NYPD for their extraordinary efforts
to protect drivers when their car is towed, said
DCA Commissioner Gretchen Dykstra. DCA licenses
tow trucks and because of todays aggressive action
by the Police Department we are moving to suspend and
possibly revoke the licenses of all companies, their principals,
and those drivers that were arrested.
Brooklyn District Attorney Hynes said, Licensed
towing is a privilege, not a right. When the license is
granted through false sworn statements made in the application
process the public trust is violated and the integrity
of the system is undermined. Falsifying business records
and lying under oath are crimes. Todays arrests
demonstrate that there are consequences to violating that
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said, The
defendants charged in this prosecution are accused of
cheating the City and New Yorkers by filing false documents
to get lucrative towing licenses for City-run towing programs
designed to remove broken down or abandoned vehicles from
streets and highways. They allegedly ran phantom towing
companies, some even using empty lots as business addresses.
Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson said: The
rotation tow procedure has been set up to protect the
public. These tow truck operators who abuse the process
circumvent the licensing procedures, operate outside of
the guidelines and should be held accountable.
The Department of Consumer Affairs regulates the Rotation
Tow program which sets towing fees for stolen vehicles
that have been recovered or vehicles that have been abandoned.
Participating companies must register with New York Citys
Department of Consumer Affairs. While the Police Department
was making routine checks of the businesses, discrepancies
revealed themselves. With the cooperation of the Department
of Consumer Affairs, the Police Departments Auto
Crime Division launched an investigation.
The 34 arrested individuals are charged with offering
a false instrument for filing, a class-E felony. The investigation
is ongoing and more arrests are expected.