A Spring Valley Recycling company has been ordered to pay more than $90,000 for not properly following procedures when buying used car parts from sellers.
A settlement was reached Tuesday in the case brought on by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit.
Under the Business and Professions Code, recycling companies must collect vehicle identification numbers from sellers or gather information from the sellers on how exactly they got a hold of the parts. Companies must also wait three business days before paying sellers so that police have time to verify information given by the seller.
But according to the DA's Office, Legends Smelting and Recycling, Inc., did not comply with the procedures when it bought used catalytic converters from sellers. The recycling company also paid with post-dated checks in multiple purchases of dating back to 2012.
Catalytic converters remove pollutant gases from a car's exhaust system and turn them into less harmful ones.
San Diego County Sheriff’s Department launched an investigation of Legends after authorities nationwide started seeing an increase in catalytic converter thefts.
“Holding recyclers accountable to collect data mandated by law provides law enforcement with a necessary tool in catching thieves who steal catalytic converters,” District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said. “The law requires recyclers to collect vehicle identification numbers so police can match up theft reports to stolen property.”
Under the terms of the settlement, Legends will pay a $75,000 penalty for its infractions, as well as $9,857 and $5,600 to the Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office, respectively.