The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office announced a $90,457 settlement Tuesday in a consumer protection case involving Legends Smelting and Recycling, Inc., the owner of a recycling yard in located in Spring Valley.

Under the terms of the settlement ordered by San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor, the recycling company must follow the law when purchasing used catalytic converters in the future.

The DA’s Consumer Protection Unit filed a civil complaint alleging the owners of Legends Smelting and Recycling failed to collect seller information and paid with post-dated checks when buying used catalytic converters, in violation of the Business and Professions Code.

“Holding recyclers accountable to collect data mandated by law provides law enforcement with a necessary tool in catching thieves who steal catalytic converters,” District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said. “The law requires recyclers to collect vehicle identification numbers so police can match up theft reports to stolen property.”

In 2012, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department began an intensive inspection of Legends after a spike in catalytic converter thefts countywide.

Under the Business & Professions Code, recyclers are required to either collect vehicle identification numbers from catalytic converter sellers or obtain additional information on where the sellers obtained the converters.

Recyclers must also wait three business days before paying sellers for the purchase of used catalytic converters. Legends failed to properly follow these procedures.

The Court ordered Legends not to commit violations in the future and imposed a penalty of $75,000. The company must pay $9,857 in costs to the Sheriff’s Department and $5,600 in costs to the District Attorney’s Office. In addition, Legends will now collect information as required by statute.

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