Car donations to charities thwarted by salvage companies
By Extra Extra | 03.27.2006
Dave Savini of WBBM-Chicago used a computer database of vehicle identification numbers to show criminals are cashing in on vehicles donated to charity, in a series that exposed how two unlicensed Illinois towing and salvage companies cheated nearly 200 charities nationwide. The companies were run by convicted felons. The investigation revealed how they ripped off 5,000 cars with an estimated street value of $2 million. "No one was monitoring how these private towers and salvage yards handled car donation money." The reports have lead to police raids, grand jury investigations and proposed legislation that would ban felons from operating as middlemen in the car donation industry. The new car donation bill would also require full disclosure of who profits from each donation and how much of the proceeds go to charity. "The car businesses would be required to report to the attorney general's office."