New York seizes 46 ice cream trucks in sting dubbed 'Operation Meltdown'

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said this week that his administration has begun seizing ice cream trucks after operators evaded millions in fines over nearly a decade.

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Dubbed “Operation Meltdown,” de Blasio said the truck’s owners created dozens of “shell” companies to avoid paying fines to the city for traffic violations – like running red lights, parking near fire hydrants and blocking pedestrian crosswalks.

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Altogether, the truck operators amassed, and evaded, nearly $4.5 million in fines between 2009 and 2017 – which included 22,000 violations.

They were able to do this by allegedly re-registering the ice cream trucks with New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles under various shell corporations – changing license plate numbers. The operators never had bank accounts and by the time the city tried to collect the fines, the companies no longer existed.

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“For years, these owners have ignored public safety laws and have driven dangerously in one of the busiest areas of the City. This seizure marks the end of the road for these scofflaw ice cream vendors,” de Blasio said in a statement.

The city is suing operators with more than $10,000 in judgments or unpaid fines.