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Rolled-over tanker calls for Hawk’s “Bad Behavior” and more
Extends exemptions for heavy-duty vehicles
Settles alleged illegal repo of two servicemen
Series is the exclusive transmissions for International CV Series
Company’s “billboard and image” roams the expansive West
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingMarch 20 - March 26, 2019
U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Thom Mrozek announced that a proposed $80,000 settlement was reached with California Auto Finance of Orange, California, over allegations of illegal repossession of U.S. servicemembers’ cars. Image –

$80K Settlement over [b]Repo Allegations

Federal prosecutors reached a proposed $80,000 settlement with California Auto Finance of Orange, California, on March 6. The auto lender was accused of illegally repossessing the cars of two U.S. Army soldiers just after they reported for active duty.

The court-enforceable consent order requires California Auto Finance, as well as a related company called Generation Inc., to pay $30,000 in compensation to a U.S. Army Specialist, as well as a $50,000 fine to the government, U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement. The settlement must still be approved by a federal judge before taking effect.

The U.S. Justice Department sued the subprime auto lender in March of 2018, alleging it had repossessed the car of U.S. Army Pvt. Andrea Starks, according to Mrozek. She notified the company in April of 2016 that she would be entering the military the following month.

"Despite this advanced notice, California Auto Finance repossessed Private Starks' vehicle without a court order on May 9, 2016, her first day of military training duty at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri," Mrozek said.

Investigators also learned of a second similar instance involving U.S. Army Spc. Omar Martinez, officials said.

He also informed the company he would be entering the military and would have limited means of communication while in basic training, prosecutors said.

"Nonetheless, California Auto Finance repossessed Specialist Martinez's vehicle during his first month of military service," Mrozek said. "The repossession severely damaged Specialist Martinez's credit."

Martinez deployed to Afghanistan in March through November of 2018, officials said.

In addition to paying Martinez $30,000, which would be the largest amount ever recovered by the DOJ for a single service member in an auto repossession case, the settlement calls for California Auto Care to pay a $50,000 civil penalty, help Martinez repair his credit and take steps to make sure the company does not impound the vehicles of military members without court orders in the future, authorities said.


Agent Knocked Down in [b]Repo Attempt

A man who was trying to prevent the repossession of a vehicle in Leavenworth allegedly knocked down a woman as he fled in the car Feb. 26, according to a police spokesman.

The man also allegedly ran over the woman's foot.

The woman was among the employees of a repossession company who were attempting to take possession of the vehicle. The suspect allegedly got into the car and drove away, according to Maj. Dan Nicodemus, deputy chief of the Leavenworth Police Department.

The woman reportedly was knocked down as the suspect was leaving the scene in the vehicle.

Maj. Nicodemus said police will attempt to find the suspect and obtain a statement from him regarding what happened.


78 Bags of Heroin Found [b]in Repo’d Car

Duncan Eric McCreary will serve prison time for drug trafficking after authorities found 78 bags of heroin in his car while it was being repossessed.

McCreary, 33, was sentenced to 20 years on March 7, with the first 10 to be served in prison, according to the Gwinnett County (Georgia) district attorney.

C&O Recovery & Towing was repossessing McCreary's Mazda 3 Sport from the parking lot of the Suburban Extended Stay Motel in Duluth, officials said. While looking through the car, the towman said he found 78 bags of heroin in the center console, the district attorney said.

Gwinnett police seized the drugs. Later that day, authorities said McCreary reported his car stolen and told officers he was the only one who had a key.

A special investigator seized and searched three cellphones from McCreary. Authorities said they found notes and text messages about heroin transactions, "further connecting (McCreary) to the heroin found in his car."


SCM Enters Forwarding Business

Just a few months after moving into a new corporate headquarters, Secure Collateral Management is advancing beyond skip-tracing and into being a forwarding company.

In a message sent to "SubPrime Auto Finance News" on Feb. 19, SCM Executive VP Joseph Farley explained why the company is making this move now, seven years since its founding.

"SCM has recently moved into a huge, new, high tech office facility, so we have the capacity to rapidly grow our business," Farley said. "While skip-tracing will continue to be the core business at SCM, we have received numerous requests from our clients and our agent network to manage forwarding assignments. ...

"Our agent network, who are the backbone of SCM's continued growth, are always asking us for more volume," he said.

Farley indicated SCM will pay the same contracted rates for forwarding work that the company pays for skip repossessions and with no fees charged to the agent for same-day payment.


RISC Offers Video Monitoring [b]via Traxxis GPS

Recovery Industry Services Company has joined forces with Traxxis GPS Solutions to offer a risk mitigation product by providing on truck video monitoring to RISC Members.

According to a release by RISC, the partnership broadens RISC's leading compliance offerings to agencies, clients, and insurance companies by leveraging Traxxis GPS Vehicle Tracking and Video Telematics to help agencies with risk mitigation needs.

"The initial investment in Traxxis GPS is pennies compared to the mitigation of claims," said Stamatis Ferarolis, chief executive officer of RISC. "I've been told by many agency owners that within the first three months users have saved their investment in claims mitigation alone."

"RISC is excited to work with Traxxis GPS to offer this unique opportunity to agency owners and help them reduce risk, increase industry compliance and improve safety. Lenders have been asking RISC for such a solution and we're happy to have partnered with Traxxis GPS to provide it," said Holly Balogh, president and chief operating officer of RISC.

Source: Recovery Industry Services Company

Candidate Person of [b]Interest in SUV Theft

Will Smith, a candidate for mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is being considered a person of interest in an SUV theft, according to police.

Smith's Chevy Suburban was repossessed from a home in South Bend Feb. 13. Later that day, the Suburban was stolen from an impound lot in Knox. A few days later, officers saw an SUV matching the description.

A South Bend PD spokesman said the name is listed as a suspect in this case, but couldn't confirm if this was the same Will Smith as the candidate.

However, Smith's address is the same home the SUV was repossessed from. Police are planning to give a report to the Starke County Prosecutor's Office.

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