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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Secretary of State Announces Recovery of Stolen Vehicles
Dunlap also Highlights New Consumer Protection Service
AUGUSTA , MAINE – Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced on Wednesday that the Office of Investigation within the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) recovered two stolen automobiles earlier this month. Working with their counterparts in New York , investigators conducted an investigation which led to the identification and recovery of two vans in Windham valued at approximately $30,000. The titles had been altered in other states and the vehicle identification numbers had been removed and replaced with similar numbers from wrecked automobiles.
In announcing the conclusion of this case, Secretary of State Dunlap highlighted the scope and impact of the work conducted by the BMV Office of Investigations to assist consumers and protect reputable automobile dealers from those who violate motor vehicle laws. He noted that in 2005, more than 4,000 cases were handled. In excess of 150 summonses were issued to individuals or companies believed to be in violation of Maine 's motor vehicle laws (Title 29-A). An additional 300 warnings were issued to individuals and businesses.
Secretary Dunlap noted that the Office of Investigation regularly recovers stolen property and unpaid funds owed to the public or state government. He explained that the Office of Investigations also serves to resolve complaints that result in money being returned to consumers. During 2005, the following amounts were recovered:
“Few people realize the extent of the consumer protection work conducted by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Last year alone, more than $440,000 in money and property was recovered for the public and state government. During the past 5 years, approximately $1.5 million in restitution was obtained for individual consumers because of the Bureau's Office of Investigation,” Dunlap commented.
Secretary Dunlap also announced that the Bureau is launching a new website this week to help consumers file complaints related to the laws and regulations overseen by the Office of Investigations. The Office is charged with the enforcement of a specialized section of law. The staff is uniquely trained, qualified and authorized to pursue regulatory compliance and to bring crimes under motor vehicle and criminal law to prosecution. Responsibilities include licensing, regulation and enforcement of laws concerning various types of vehicle dealers, title fraud, odometer fraud, automobile identification, auto theft investigations, registration evasion, insurance fraud, driver license and state identification card fraud, and consumer complaints. The BMV Office of Investigation is the only law enforcement agency that specializes in this area. More information about the Office and a link to file complaints can be found online at http://www.maine.gov/sos/bmv/investigations/index.html .
“The Office of Investigation is available to assist the public with a variety of matters including identity theft cases, certain motor vehicle purchase problems, odometer fraud, and automobile dealer law violations. This new online service will make it easier and more convenient for people to ask questions, file complaints and receive assistance,” Dunlap concluded.
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