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Former tow operated charged with fraud, auto theft and forgery

Tow trucks are a common sight in Indiana's cities and villages, where they are used to haul vehicles from accident scenes and remove cars that have been illegally parked. The former owner of a towing service based in Terre Haute is now facing criminal charges for allegedly using such activity to cover up fraud, auto theft, perjury and forgery.

The owner operated the towing service in and around Terre Haute until he sold it in January 2016. Police received their first complaint about the business on Feb. 18, 2016, when they received a complaint that the towing service had stolen a citizen's car. The auto theft unit of the Terre Haute Police Department began to investigate all business operations that occurred between Oct. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2016.

On Sept. 1, 2017, the police obtained a search warrant for the operator's home, and several "items of interest" were seized. According to police, their investigation uncovered many alleged "anomalies" regarding the sale of cars impounded by the police and vehicles towed from accident scenes. Police also said they discovered allegedly falsified mechanic's liens that were used to falsely claim ownership of vehicles. In all, the defendant was charged with three counts of corrupt business influence, three counts of auto theft, 42 counts of perjury and 42 counts of forgery.

Despite the apparent strength of the prosecution's case, the defendant in this case is entitled to be presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone facing similar charges may benefit from consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney about the law and evidence of the case. A knowledgeable lawyer can also provide an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea agreement or an outright acquittal.

Source: Terre Haute Tribune Star, "Former tow operator arrested on 90 counts," Sue Loughlin, Sept. 5, 2017

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