Cymill Motors Inc., a towing and used car business on Covington Highway, and its owners, Cynthia Jarrett-Thorpe and Millern Prince Jarrett-Thorpe, were arrested in August on charges that they failed to comply with their schedule of payments, a violation of the Georgia Abandoned Motor Vehicle Law.
They paid DeKalb $142,349.25 in restitution in a pre-accusation agreement stemming from a nine-month investigation into whether the company had paid the county the appropriate proceeds from impounded vehicles sold at auction.
DeKalb Solicitor General Sherry Boston said in a Sept. 21 statement that the two would have faced several hundred counts if they had not made the payment.
She said she will drop charges against the couple.
“I am very pleased to recover this money that rightfully belongs to DeKalb County,” Boston said. “In this economy and at any time, we will not allow funds to be taken illegally from DeKalb County and used for personal profit.”
The investigation began in July 2011 after the DeKalb Magistrate Court clerk noticed an irregularity with a bill of sale from a lien on an impounded car.
State law allows tow companies to sell vehicles abandoned for 30 days or more at public auction. The company is expected to file a lien on the vehicle with the Magistrate Court to recoup its costs for the removal, storage and auction of the vehicle.
Within 30 days of the sale, it is required to provide the court a copy of the bill of sale and turn over any proceeds from the sale that exceed the lien amount. Violations of the statute is punishable up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine per violation.
Investigators and lawyers from the Solicitor’s office combed through more than 150 boxes of documents from Cymill, the company’s computer hard drives, and public records. In the past two years, Cymill sold 336 vehicles – including a 2008 BMW, 2002 Cadillac Escalade, and a 1999 Lexus – at public auction. Profit over the lien for some was as high as $8,400.
Investigators now are now examining the records of five towing contractors to determine if similar irregularities occurred.