AUGUSTA — A multinational recycling company has pleaded guilty to 17 counts of failing to surrender the titles to vehicles it crushed at its Oakland scrapyard.

That result of not surrendering the titles, state officials said, made it impossible for the state to know whether the vehicles were owned by the people who brought them in or could have been stolen.

AIM Recycling USA LLC, a subsidiary of Canada-based AIM Recycling, paid more than $41,000 in fines and other charges as part of a plea agreement in which it pleaded guilty to 17 counts of failure to surrender title. A total of 13 other charges of failing to keep records were dismissed by prosecutors.

In a response to a Freedom of Access Act request, Maeghan Maloney, district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties, said  AIM Recycling pleaded guilty to failing to surrender to the state the titles for cars the company crushed at its Oakland site in a mobile crushing unit.

She said that lack of documentation meant the state was unable to verify that the company properly transferred the titles from those cars, properly paid revenues on those transfers or properly tracked vehicles that were crushed.

“In other words, did the people who brought their vehicles to AIM have title over them or were vehicle owners being unknowingly deprived of their vehicles,” Maloney said. “Many stolen vehicles are never recovered.”

According to court documents, the company pleaded guilty July 29 via Joshua Dunlap, an attorney for Maine law firm Pierce Atwood who represented the firm in the case. Dunlap could not immediately be reached for comment.

Court filings in the case include a consent to proceed in absence of defendant and plea by authorization signed by Herbert Black, a representative of AIM Recycling USA LLC, in which the company acknowledged its guilty plea to the 17 class E crimes was made voluntarily and there is a factual basis for the charges.

The crime was investigated by enforcement officials with the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles, according to court documents, who alleged the crimes took place in August 2020.

“We rely on our corporate partners to follow the statutes, like we do all citizens of this county,” Maloney said. “We take illegal business practices seriously and AIM paid a significant price for this misconduct.”

State law requires an owner who scraps or dismantles a vehicle — or someone who acquires a vehicle to be scrapped or dismantled — to surrender the certificate of title or certificate of salvage to the Maine secretary of state within 30 days.

AIM also owns a metal recycling yard in Augusta, which currently appears to be inactive, and has operations in Arundel and Bangor.

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