JEFFERSON CITY — Special Agents Doug Scotten and Mike Fryer, of the Missouri Department of Revenue’s Compliance and Investigation Bureau (CIB), recently assisted the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) in Operation Clean Sweep. The operation’s purpose was to identify salvage operations in the Kansas City metropolitan area, ensure compliance with Missouri salvage laws and locate stolen vehicles.
Operation Clean Sweep took place over the course of two days in mid-May. During that time, the task force identified an unlicensed salvage operation and a large, illegal “chop shop” operation. The task force also checked the accuracy of 898 vehicle identification numbers, visited approximately 23 salvage and body shop businesses being checked for compliance, and recovered 12 stolen vehicles, two stolen trailers and one stolen piece of equipment.
“The general purpose of investigations like Operation Clean Sweep is to ensure businesses are in compliance with Missouri’s salvage licensure laws, as well as sales tax and titling laws related to motor vehicles,” said CIB Investigation Manager Nick Humphrey. “As part of Operation Clean Sweep, DOR investigators provided their expertise in checking the validity of vehicle identification numbers, business record requirements, odometer tampering and vehicle title tampering.”
Led by Corporal C N Bradley of the MSHP, the joint task force responsible for carrying out Operation Clean Sweep consisted of Agents Scotten and Fryer, MSHP motor vehicle inspectors, officers from the Kansas City Missouri Police Department, a special agent from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and an agent from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
“Most businesses in Missouri do a fantastic job fulfilling their licensure requirements. Unfortunately, a few do not. That’s where our CIB agents come in,” said Department Director Joel Walters. “It is the hope of our investigators, and the Department, that by reducing the outlet for stolen vehicles and vehicle parts, the overall rate of auto theft in the area will also decrease. And, of course, ensuring licensure compliance means the state is getting the tax dollars it’s due.”
According to the Department, inspections of licensed businesses include reviewing books, records and files that are required by law to be maintained, as well as checking vehicle and vehicle parts inventory for discrepancies. Some of the more serious violations that are found include failing to pay the required sales tax upon transferring vehicles or vehicle parts and possession of stolen vehicles or vehicle parts.