SAN JOSE (AP) — A tow truck driver was sentenced to 14-years in prison for filing bogus lawsuits against hundreds of people after hauling cars they no longer owned and charging fees for storage and towing.

A Santa Clara County judge on Friday called 67-year-old Vincent Cardinalli and his family “worse than Bernie Madoff” for a scam the court system failed to catch for years. He was convicted of 99 felony counts of fraud.

Cardinalli would tow vehicles from apartment private driveways, allow fees to add up and sue the former car owner.

When victims challenged Cardinalli in court, records showed small claims Commissioner Gregory Saldivar sided with Cardinalli.

Finally, attorney Greg Adler investigated Cardinalli, collected evidence and persuaded prosecutors to file a case.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


Comments (14)
  1. Cutecy says:

    Commissioner (and I use the word losely) Gregory Saldivar should be fired. He is obviously incompetent or was paid off by Cardinalli.

  2. Angel says:

    Was thinking the same exact thing Cutecy. Couldn’t have worded it better myself. Get rid of the Commissioner Saldivar who helped Cardinalli collect on bogus lawsuits.

  3. deanster says:

    my mother’s car was stolen and this to company is suing her for recovery and storage fee’s she is a senior and stroke surviver this strees can lead to another stroke it’s not her fault the car was stolen yet they still presure her for money . I s their anyone who can help ?

    1. Walt says:

      Hi Dean;

      Contact the Legal Aid Society at
      They can direct you to a lawyer that accepts Pro Bono work.

  4. justbigrich says:

    The idiot who sided with him should be fired. How many of these cases were presented before him and he still did not question them and they were all the same. Give me a break. These guys sit up there and pass judgment and act all high and mighty and all knowing yet in reality they are no smarter than the average person. Sounds like he was in on it and took in some of the money. why else would he always look the other way and not question it when the defendants all said the same thing.

  5. fred b says:

    The idiot who sided with him should not be fired but jail.

  6. tn says:

    Interesting- Small Claims Commissioner Gregory Saldivar HAD an attorney’s license, however, currently, it is INACTIVE. Court system took this long to put this guy away? 99 counts against him, and how many countless others were dropped, for whatever reasons? Birds of a feather…

  7. Rich Anderson says:

    Towing companies or the lowest of the low. The police probably get a few kikbacks from them to.

  8. Walt says:

    This points to a need for strong regulation of the towing industry.

  9. tonyj says:

    “worse than Bernie Madoff…”???

    People committed suicide after they lost their money from Madoff’s pyramid scam.

  10. Lisa says:

    Was Commissioner Gregory Saldivar every investigated? It sounds as though he was a part of this scam.

  11. Rt in Danville says:

    Both should be deported. They are more than likely here illegally. Notice the last names.

  12. Eugene says:

    Commissioner Saldivar should be brought before the SCC Grand Jury.
    I’ve had dealings with this man and I’ve always suspected he was on the
    take with plaintiffs such as the Santa Clara County Water District. These
    dealings with the tow truck companies only solidifies my opinion of him.
    Something should be done soon about this man.

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