Vincent Cardinalli
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After nearly two years of delays, the case against a tow truck operator facing a sentence of up to 177 years in prison for scores of felony counts stemming from an alleged towing scam will go to preliminary hearing Monday.

Vincent Cardinalli Sr., 66, and his son Paul Greer, 32 – formerly Vincent Cardinalli, Jr. – were arrested in June 2007 on scores of counts of conspiracy, forgery, perjury, attempted grand theft and other felony charges after investigators learned the duo allegedly turned their towing business into a gold mine by filing hundreds of lawsuits in hopes of collecting towing and storage fees.

Since their arrests, investigators unearthed more evidence against Cardinalli and Greer, bringing the total number of felony counts up to 169. Greer’s sister, Rosemary Ball, and her husband, Michael Ball, also face felony charges for their involvement.

Process server Jeffrey Horan – who, according to court documents, said he delivered legal notices to people who were sued, but did not actually deliver them – admitted to his participation in the case and was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to cheat and defraud and six counts of perjury last June. His sentencing is being postponed until the rest of the case is resolved, said Deputy District Attorney Dale Lohman earlier this year.

Father and son filed more than 2,000 cases in small claims courts since 1999 in San Benito and Santa Clara counties, according to an investigation conducted by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. They were released on bail and continued to enter small claims suits in San Benito County, even after being dubbed “vexatious litigants” by the courts. Cardinalli was later taken back into custody when further investigation revealed the Hollister resident was convicted of two felony arson charges in the 1970s.

Cardinalli later scrapped his defense attorney and took up the cause himself, further complicating a case with file that’s about 20,000 pages thick.

He faces 177 years and four months in prison if convicted on all counts. Greer faces 44 years and 8 months, Lohman said.

Dozens of victims have been on telephone standby for months, Lohman said.

The preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin 9 a.m. Monday in Department 32 of the Hall of Justice in San Jose. The proceedings will run for two weeks, excluding Fridays, before a week-long break. Attorneys said the hearings could last up to six weeks.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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