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 City's 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.
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 related
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 a
"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 today's 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
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. Today's arrests demonstrate that there are consequences
to violating that public trust."
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."
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
City's 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 Department's 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.