Sentencing set for Friday in tow-and-sue scam case

Paul Greer

A San Benito father-son tandem that pleaded no contest to using
their towing and collections business to scam hundreds of motorists
for almost a decade will be sentenced Friday, according to the
Santa Clara County Superior Court.
A San Benito father-son tandem that pleaded no contest to using their towing and collections business to scam hundreds of motorists for almost a decade will be sentenced Friday, according to the Santa Clara County Superior Court.

Sentencing for Vincent Cardinalli, 67, and his son, Paul Greer, 33, is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Hall of Justice in San Jose.

A Gilroy Dispatch request to photograph the sentencing hearing was denied by Santa Clara County Judge Gilbert T. Brown.

In June, Cardinalli pleaded no contest to 99 felony charges and one misdemeanor charge – including counts of forgery, perjury and embezzlement – stemming from a tow-and-sue scam piloted by Cardinalli and members of his family, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

In May, Greer pleaded no contest to 59 felony charges, including 26 counts of attempted grand theft, 14 counts of perjury, 13 counts of subornation of perjury, three counts of embezzlement and one count each of conspiracy to obstruct justice, presentation of false evidence and burglary, according to prosecutors.

According to prosecutors, the tow truck operators preyed on unwitting vehicle owners, including those who spoke little English, and targeted auto salvage company Copart, Inc.

Cardinalli and Greer filed hundreds of fraudulent lawsuits against motorists in Santa Clara and San Benito counties for storage, towing and lien sales fees on vehicles drivers did not own or sold years before the vehicles were towed, according to court documents.

The tandem often focused on marginal technicalities and frivolous arguments when defendants attempted to fight the lawsuits in small claims court, according to court documents.

Process sever Jeffery Horan, who pleaded no contest in June 2008 to conspiracy and six counts of perjury, falsified proofs of service by the tow truck operators, according to court documents.

Cardinalli’s daughter, Rosemary Ball, 35, also pleaded no contest to one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, one count of perjury and one count of attempted grand theft, according to the district attorney’s office. Her husband, Michael Ball, 39, pleaded no contest to one felony count of attempted grand theft.

The Dispatch first reported on the family’s unorthodox business dealings in April 2006. Cardinalli and Greer were arrested in June 2007.

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