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San Jose Tow Truck Driver Gets 14 Years For Bogus Lawsuit Scam

SAN JOSE (AP) -- A tow truck driver was sentenced to 14-years in prison for filing bogus lawsuits against hundreds of people after hauling cars they no longer owned and charging fees for storage and towing.

A Santa Clara County judge on Friday called 67-year-old Vincent Cardinalli and his family "worse than Bernie Madoff" for a scam the court system failed to catch for years. He was convicted of 99 felony counts of fraud.

Cardinalli would tow vehicles from apartment private driveways, allow fees to add up and sue the former car owner.

When victims challenged Cardinalli in court, records showed small claims Commissioner Gregory Saldivar sided with Cardinalli.

Finally, attorney Greg Adler investigated Cardinalli, collected evidence and persuaded prosecutors to file a case.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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