NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Manhattan District Attorney says a Long Island man says a Long Island man and nearly two dozen others were using violent and illegal tactics to dominate the city’s towing industry.
44-year-old Daniel Steininger and 17 of his associates walked into court in handcuffs Wednesday, accused of running an organized crime operation similar to the film “On the Waterfront.”
The Manhattan DA alleges Steininger illegally monopolized the New York towing industry.
“Today’s indictments of which there are four alleged various schemes the the defendants used to enrich themselves and exert control over the industry,” District Attorney Cy Vance said.
The schemes between June 2015 and December 2017 allegedly include damaging competitors’ trucks, inflicting damage on customers’ vehicles, claiming to perform repairs that were never made, and billing insurance companies for new parts that were actually used.
Steininger also illegally jumped the list to get extra business, according to Vance.
“Currently when a collision takes place the responding NYPD officer checks a rotating roster of towing companies that are eligible to perform jobs in certain geographic zones,” Vance said. “In order to get as many spots on that list as possible, the defendants — under the direction of Daniel Steininger — fraudulently acquired and consolidated various other towing companies and then stacked that roster with multiple companies he controlled.”
Companies such as D and D’s Impressive Auto Collision, listed at the same address as Tow-Ariffic, a company put in Steininger’s sister Karen’s name. Both are located at 334 East 126tyh Street.
The defendants were arraigned on a laundry list of charges Wednesday. Steininger pleaded not guilty.
“I need to unpack all of this discovery,” his defense attorney said following the arraignment. “Just saying it does not mean you can prove it and we’ll do our best to show that they can’t prove it.”
Some of the defendants will be back in court in a few weeks.