Amy Cornell, Public Information Officer
Dale B. Lohman, Deputy District Attorney
Major Fraud Unit
(408) 792-2599 For release on May 10, 2010 THREE DEFENDANTS PLEAD NO CONTEST IN SOUTH COUNTY TOW-AND-SUE SCAM Three of the four remaining defendants charged in an elaborate abuse of the Small Claims Courts in Santa Clara and San Benito Counties pleaded no contest to multiple felony charges. The felony charges arose out of a scam that involved hundreds if not thousands of fraudulent lawsuits and spanned nearly a decade. Defendant Paul Stephen Greer pleaded no contest to 59 felonies, 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. The pleas followed a five-week preliminary hearing in front of the Judge Gilbert T. Brown. Greer, the owner of family-run towing business B&C Towing, previously located in Gilroy, Hollister and Clovis, CA, towed vehicles and sold them without giving the owners prior notice, as required by law. He then filed lawsuits in Small Claims Court to recover what he claimed were thousands of dollars of still-unpaid towing and storage fees. Greer deceived judges into ruling in his favor by falsely representing that he had given the owners notice before selling their vehicles, a prerequisite to such lawsuits. In at least one case, Greer presented fabricated evidence in court to substantiate his claim. In some cases, Greer filed lawsuits against individuals or companies that had sold the vehicle in question years earlier. In others, he sued people who had never owned the vehicle based solely on the similarity of their name to that of the true owner. Undaunted by proof that he was suing the wrong person, Greer obtained judgments, garnished bank accounts and, in some cases, even sought the arrest of those who failed to pay his fraudulently obtained judgments. Greer also inflated the amount of his claims by convincing at least three local process servers to falsify court documents concerning fees Greer had paid them to attempt service of his lawsuits. In many cases, Greer failed to give notice not only of the pending vehicle sales but of the subsequent lawsuits as well, thereby winning quick default judgments against unsuspecting victims. Greer was aided in his fraud by process server Jeffrey Horan who falsified proofs of service for use by Greer in court. These documents misled judges into thinking that the people Greer sued had been notified of the lawsuits against them when they had not. Horan pleaded no contest in June of 2008 to conspiracy and six counts of perjury for his role in the scheme.
Greer will be sentenced to eight years in state prison. Defendant Rosemary Ball, Greer’s sister, also pleaded no contest to one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, one count of attempted grand theft, and one count of perjury for her role in the scam. She will be sentenced to between four and six months in county jail. Defendant Michael Ball, Greer’s brother-in-law, pleaded no contest to one felony count of attempted grand theft for his part in the crime. He will be sentenced to one hundred and fifty days of electronic monitoring.
Defendant Vincent Bruce Cardinalli, Sr., Greer’s father, remains set for jury trial on August 16, 2010. He is charged with ninety-nine felony counts. The next court date for defendants Greer, Rosemary Ball and Michael Ball is also August 16, 2010 for sentencing. ###