Arizona Daily Star
The fortunes of a local woman took a disastrous turn when she loaned her car to her son so he could take her granddaughter to school.
Her son was arrested on suspicion of credit-card fraud in Oro Valley and police seized the woman’s orange 2005 Mini Cooper, which she said in court documents she needed to drive to her $14-an-hour job at Red Lobster.
She hired a lawyer — the court does not provide lawyers in civil matters — to challenge the seizure and subsequent forfeiture proceedings. Authorities agreed on July 7 to return her car, but first she had to pay $2,000 into the Pima County Anti-Racketeering Fund, with $1,500 going to Oro Valley police and $500 to the County Attorney’s Office.
In her case and four others recently settled in Pima County, prosecutors decided to return the vehicle, implying it was not subject to forfeiture. So why did the owner have to pay?
The agreements were reached through confidential negotiations, not by a judge’s ruling in open court, so the public record does not provide a clear answer to that question.