113 S.D.Motorists Involved in Towing Scheme to be Reimbursed

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Photo credit: Alexander Nguyen

Reimbursement checks totaling $34,580 will go out this week to 113 motorists whose vehicles were illegally towed from a Convoy Street shopping center in a predatory towing scheme, the San Diego City Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

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The restitution stems from the City Attorney’s Consumer & Environment Protection Unit’s prosecution of NK Towing, its owner Amir Iravani and a Vista man, Elvin Vega, over unauthorized tows.

The City Attorney’s Office filed the criminal complaint in May. Subsequently, NK Towing agreed to reimburse the tow fees for all 113 vehicles for a total payment of $34,580, after which NK Towing and Iravani were dismissed from the case.

Vega pleaded guilty to misdemeanor unauthorized towing, was placed on three years probation and ordered to pay fines and fees.

Prosecutors said Vega sought and received commissions from Iravani for requesting that NK Towing tow vehicles from the Plaza del Sol shopping center at 4688 Convoy St. in Kearny Mesa over an eight-month period ending in May 2014.

The California Vehicle Code prohibits the receipt of any compensation, direct or indirect, from a towing company in exchange for requesting its services.

Vega did not have authority from the shopping center’s manager or property owner to request tows from the parking lot, according to court papers.

The complaint also documented instances in which vehicles were towed despite being on the lot less than one hour, and instances where cars were towed more than 10 miles from the Convoy Street location.

Except in certain cases, it is illegal to tow a vehicle within an hour of when it’s parked. Additionally, tow yards must be located within 10 miles of the lot from which the vehicle was towed. NK Towing operates from locations in four North County cities, the closest being in Del Mar.

The towing scheme was originally investigated by Michael Turko of KUSI, according to authorities.

The San Diego Police Department investigated Turko’s report, and the City Attorney’s Office was able to locate the victims by utilizing the legal authority granted prosecutors to inspect a tow company’s records.

—City News Service

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