Arkansas Trucking Association

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Up Front- True Crime: Trucking Episode

ShannonNewtonShannon Newton
President, ATA

Scam narratives are in the zeitgeist. We are drawn to the stories of people who could have been us, who were ripped off and taken advantage of. They are cautionary tales that keep us safe because they remind us to stay alert.

You can’t turn on a podcast or streaming network without finding a dozen accounts of the people who’ve been bamboozled by scam artists. The victims might lose a few hundred dollars in a pyramid scheme or their life savings to an online catfish. The irreplaceable loss for all of us is in our trust.

In the trucking community, we do our best to look out for each other, and when fraudsters prey on the men and women who move America’s freight, we don’t just watch it happen.

Last month, WBTV in North Carolina began reporting on a three-part investigation, “The Wild West of Towing in Charlotte,” about tow business owners facing multiple felony charges. With red yarn, a cork board and somber tones, the reporters presented their findings which included millions of dollars in stolen goods, car chases, kidnappings, drug trafficking and an incredible criminal ring of towing businesses in the area.

Closer to home, and only slightly less sensational, another towing scam has been operating in the Memphis metro area and preying on our members.

Several local news outlets and some industry media have reported on the allegations that a towing company has been luring drivers to locations that previously offered free parking, booting their equipment and then holding it hostage for exploitative rates.

The story chronicled by Memphis area news stations has the twists and turns of any true crime documentary—carjacking, impersonation, intimidation, weapons, stolen cars on eBay, rates greater than a semester of college, and vandalism that could be considered a biohazard.

The complaints of unprofessional interactions continue to stack up. In October, the Arkansas Towing and Recovery Board suspended the company’s booting license for 60 days after it received nine reports of illegal booting and towing from an unmanned truck stop in West Memphis.

The trucking associations in Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi, Arkansas State Police, the City of Memphis, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Tennessee Attorney General’s office and now the Federal Bureau of Investigation are all engaged.

On March 4, three trucking companies filed a $5 million racketeering lawsuit against the towing company accusing them of preying on commercial truck drivers.

ATA understands that every industry has bad actors. Unfortunately, those in the big truck towing business seem to be growing at an alarming rate, taking advantage of unsuspecting drivers and the desire of trucking companies to deliver their customers’ freight on time. An ATRI study released last fall concluded that over 80% of motor carriers have experienced predatory towing practices.

We have got to encourage policymakers and regulators to take note. We need tow operators to fulfill a vital function keeping our trucks moving and the highways clear.

However, those looking to exploit our industry need to get the boot.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Suite 185
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
You are here: Home Article Archive Up Front- True Crime: Trucking Episode