Drivers billed thousands of dollars for tows under a mile, cops say. Tow operator charged

The owner of a Pittsburgh-area towing company is facing more than 100 charges after he was accused of inflating costs, charging customers thousands for short-trip tows and fraudulent fees, officials said.

Vincent G. Fannick, 56, was charged on April 18 with “27 counts each of insurance fraud, theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking, and securing execution of documents by deception,” according to a joint news release from Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry and the Allegheny County Police Department.

McClatchy News reached out to Fannick’s attorney for comment on April 18 but did not receive an immediate response.

According to officials, Fannick, owner of Vince’s Towing, was charging consumers’ insurance companies “exorbitant tow costs” by not including prices on invoices and then tacking on large “accident services” fees.

Fraudulent accident fees cost the 27 customers more than $100,000, officials said.

“These actions targeted unsuspecting members of our community during their most vulnerable moments,” Superintendent Christopher Kearns of the Allegheny County Police Department said.

Authorities first learned of Fannick’s scheme in 2023 when a consumer reported Vince’s Towing charged their insurance company $11,390 for a short-trip tow the vehicle owner did not request, including a $4,250 “accident services” fee, according to the attorney general.

Between February 2023 and February 2024, 26 other customers were “subjected to the same scam,” officials said.

“Insurance companies were charged between $9,460 and $13,105 for single, short-trip tows,” the attorney general said. “In one case, Fannick charged $9,805 for towing a vehicle one-third of a mile.”

Fannick reportedly told another customer he would keep her car unless she paid her $11,780 bill, which included a $4,380 towing fee for seven-tenths of a mile, $4,250 recovery fee, $1,200 gate fee, $1,200 administrative fee and $195 a day in storage fees, according to KDKA.

Fannick is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on May 3, officials said.

Pennsylvania officials warn drivers to beware of “wreck chasers” and “rogue towers” who employ predatory and deceptive tactics to scam customers.

Urgent care worker posing as nurse assaults over a dozen women, Pennsylvania cops say

Fake priest preyed on churches across US in string of robberies, California cops say

Man swindled $30K from 83-year-old friend then killed him, Pennsylvania officials say