NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was a massive takedown Wednesday at a towing company in New York City.

As WCBS 880’s Ethan Harp reported, 17 people were charged with helping to muscle out rivals across the five boroughs.

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Daniel Steininger of Oceanside led an organized crime towing monopoly with the help of his sister, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

“A group of individuals and companies that maintained a violent corrupt and nearly complete monopoly on New York City’s towing industry,” Vance said.

Vance claimed the group created shell companies to get an illegal leg up on NYPD calls for tow trucks. If competitors showed up, Vance said their crews were not afraid to get rough.

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“In the kind of industry racket popularized by films years ago like ‘On the Waterfront,’” Vance said.

But outside court, Steininger’s defense lawyer, James Kousouros, rejected the accusations.

“My client denies the charges; denies this grandiose title that they’ve given him,” Kousouros said.

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The city’s Department of Investigation is using the indictments to call for reforms to the towing industry.