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Towing operator charged with fraud

By Staff | May 7, 2009

A Naples-based towing operator has been charged with fraud after officials say he towed vehicles without current and proper authority.
On April 20, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit conducted an investigation into complaints made against Anytime Towing, a towing company based in Naples, which accused the company of towing vehicles from private property through deception or fraudulent means.
On Wednesday, March 18, College Club Apartments, 17100 College Club Loop, Fort Myers, reportedly informed Anytime Towing they wished to cancel their towing contract and the company’s services were no longer needed. This request was issued via email and fax, officials said.
Between March 18 and April 10, no vehicles were towed from College Club Apartments and there was no contact between representatives of College Club Apartments and Anytime Towing. On April 11, Anytime Towing notified the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, as required by Florida State Statute, of nine vehicles that were towed from the property, even though a request was made for Anytime Towing to no longer provide service to College Club Apartments.
Following this incident, representatives from College Club Apartments reportedly made numerous attempts at contacting Sean Whelan, owner/operator of Anytime Towing, to release the vehicles that were improperly removed from the property. These efforts were to no avail as Anytime Towing claimed the vehicles were removed for not having proper parking permits, although the record shows that statement was not accurate, officials said.
Detectives met with Whelan at his residence, 4130 1st Avenue NW, Naples, where the investigation revealed Whalen was aware of College Club Apartments attempt to cancel his towing service, yet continued to tow vehicles so he could receive the nearly $200 charge each victim was required to pay to get their vehicles returned, officials said.
Based on his actions, Sean Whelan, 41, has been charged with four felony counts of Obtaining Vehicles Through Fraudulent Means or False Representation. He has been arrested and will be transported to the Lee County Jail.

Source: Lee County Sheriff’s Office