Towing company owner sentenced to 30 days in jail

September 2, 2014
Rosse

Paul Rosse stands before 27th Circuit Court Judge Anthony Monton during his sentencing Tuesday.

HART — Paul J. Rosse, the owner of Paul’s Towing in Hart, was sentenced to 30 days in jail Tuesday in 27th Circuit Court for a felony conviction of common law fraud.

Rosse, who was also ordered to pay nearly $23,000 in restitution, was arrested last June by the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office for “ghost towing.” He was facing up to 10 years in prison.

“Ghost towing” is a term used to describe requesting a tow, usually a long distance tow that costs several hundred dollars, and then not sending out a tow and collecting the money from a company, in this case AAA.” Rosse had been “ghost towing” over the last few months, Lt. Craig Mast of the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office said earlier. His AAA contract was cancelled, he said.

This situation was brought to the sheriff’s office attention by the fraud detection office at AAA. After numerous interviews with employees, prior employees, customers and other witnesses, a warrant was issued.

Rosse’s attorney, Terry Nolan, described his client, who appeared in court with his right arm in a sling, as being in very bad health. “My client has been battling cancer for years,” Nolan said. His cancer is currently in remission, he said, but Rosse continues to suffer from major health problems as a result of chemotherapy treatment. Nolan asked that Judge Anthony Monton allow Rosse to serve 10 consecutive weekends in jail as opposed to 30 consecutive days to allow him to go to his physical therapy appointments for his shoulder, as well as other doctor’s appointments. “This will allow him to continue his rehabilitation,” he said. Rosse said that he recently had surgery on his right shoulder and needs to go to physical therapy for it. “The chemo has done all kinds of damage,” Nolan said, including memory loss.

Oceana County Prosecutor Joe Bizon did not object to the request for serving his jail time on the weekends. After the sentencing, Bizon said, “We do know that he is sick.” By allowing Rosse to serve time on the weekends actually saves taxpayers’ money, he said. “We don’t want him sick in jail,” he said. By serving his time on the weekends, he will also ending up doing more time than if he served 30 consecutive days. He will actually serve 40 days that way, he said, because weekend jail terms run Friday through Monday. He must report by 4 p.m. Friday and is released at 9 a.m. Monday.

“My client is prepared to pay the restitution immediately,” Nolan said to Monton. He was ordered to pay $22,953.80 in restitution, along with $198 in fines and costs.

“My client regrets taking matters into his own hands,” Nolan said. When asked by Monton if he had anything to say before his sentencing, Rosse had no comment.

 

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