HART, Mich. (WZZM) – Detectives are working a case they believe is the first of its kind on the lakeshore: allegations of "ghost towing" by a longtime business owner.
Paul Rosse, owner of Paul's Towing in Hart, is accused of making fake tow calls to AAA then collecting fees for tows police say he didn't do. Lt. Craig Mast says the Oceana County Sheriff's Department was notified of the suspected fraud by the AAA anti-fraud unit.
The allegation accuses Rosse of making several ghost tows over several months, multiple times involving big recreational vehicles. The ghost tows were often very expensive like one from Silver Lake all the way to Grand Rapids.
"When our investigator followed up on that call, the service company had no record of that vehicle making it to their facility," Lt. Mast said.
Rosse was charged this with week with common law fraud, a 10-year felony. He posted a $5,000 bond and is out of jail but was not at his business Thursday for comment.
Lt. Mast says the investigation turned up several thousand dollars in fraudulent activity on the accounts of multiple AAA members. Rosse's attorney said he's working on a resolution that will satisfy AAA, police, and his client.
Detectives say AAA has recordings of the bogus tow calls Rosse is accused of making, and add he can be heard disguising his voice. Investigators say Rosse then answered the phone with his normal voice when AAA called to send him the tow request.