AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine secretary of state’s Office of Investigations closed 98 percent of its assigned cases last year and collected $271,618 in restitution funds which were returned to consumers, it announced Tuesday.
The office recently completed its 2012 report, which shows that 2,958 of the 2,996 cases assigned to the office — resulting from consumer complaints ranging from unsafe vehicles to warranty problems — were closed.
According to Melissa Couture in the Office of Investigations, the total number of cases assigned was up this past year. In 2011, 2,661 total cases were opened. In 2010, the total was 2,421.
The largest amount recouped in one case was $26,000.
“It involved a car dealer who sold a customer a car without a title, so the dealer was made to buy it back,” said Couture.
The Office of Investigations handles regulatory compliance and motor vehicle and criminal law, including regulation and enforcement of laws concerning vehicle dealers, title fraud, odometer fraud, automobile identification, auto theft, registration evasion, insurance fraud, and driver’s license and state identification card fraud, as well as special assignments.
The Office of Investigations is staffed by 11 Maine Criminal Justice Academy-certified law enforcement officers and support staff members.