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Northern California Man Charged in Scheme to Defraud NHTSA's "Cash for Clunkers" Program

On May 29, 2012, James Taylor, owner of Pinole-Rodeo Auto Wreckers, Rodeo, California, was charged in U.S. District Court, Oakland, California, for falsely certifying that he had destroyed vehicles after receiving payment from dealerships to dispose of them in accordance with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA), Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act (CARS) program.  Mr. Taylor devised a scheme wherein the vehicles were actually being sold and exported out of the country.

This investigation was initiated based on a discovery of two vehicles by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) at the Port of Oakland that were identified as having been trade-ins from the CARS program.  OIG executed a search warrant at Mr. Taylor's place of business in March 2011 and the evidence obtained determined that Mr. Taylor falsely represented to NHTSA and to car dealerships that he had destroyed the vehicles as he had been paid to do in accordance with the CARs program.  However, our investigation found that Mr. Taylor sold the two cars and had plans to export them out of the country by using the services of a freight-forwarder located in southern California.

This investigation was worked jointly with the CHP, with assistance provided from NHTSA. 

Note:  Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government.  All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.