Md. man receives automated traffic tickets for vehicles he doesn't own

FOX 5 Chief Investigative Reporter Emily Miller reports.

- A Maryland driver says he is being issued automated traffic tickets for cars that he doesn't own.

Michael Greene, a software engineer who lives in Rockville, reached out to FOX 5 after he got home a couple weeks ago from his Christmas break and found a stack of automated fines in the mail.

He drives a blue BMW X3 SUV with a Maryland license plate with a Florida Gators logo on it.

But the BMW vehicles pictured on the tickets he received are clearly not his. For one citation, the vehicle seen committing the infraction is a sedan that has a different Maryland license plate.

All of the vehicles on the other tickets all have Maryland license plates and all appear to be leased from BMW.

“I thought my wife got speed camera tickets and was just speeding all over the place,” Greene said. “And then she said, ‘No, I didn't,’ and then we opened them up and I was really shocked to see that they weren't our cars.”

This whole thing happened during the holidays. He got two automated speed camera tickets from Prince George's County for $40 each. Another one came from Baltimore County for $40. A fourth citation was an E-ZPass violation on the New Jersey Turnpike for a missed toll of $2.90 and a $50 fine.

Greene called everyone connected to the tickets.

“No one wanted to help,” he said. “I talked to jurisdictions and that really got me nowhere. I talked to the MVA and they said all of the data was correct. I even called BMW and BMW said all the data was correct for them. At that point, with everyone washing their hands, someone's got to figure out where the problem is.”

Greene is determined to find the four drivers so they can pay for the tickets.

“I know that I’m not necessarily financially responsible, but other people are getting these tickets and they don't know about them, and then they're going to find out down the road that they have exorbitant late fees, administrative fees, flags.”

He said the whole system relies on getting the automated notices to the right car owner. You may be racking up fines or getting a ding on your credit report -- and not even know.

“I don't appreciate the fact that they want to put up speed cameras everywhere, and I get it, it does help and it keeps the speed down,” said Greene. “But at the same time, make sure the people are getting the information that they got one, and that they can pay it and not have to pay these late fees. Don't feel like you're ripping all of us off.”

I tried myself to call all of the places where Greene tried.

The company, Optotraffic, handles the speed cameras for Prince George's County. Optotraffic spokesperson John O’Connor told me that they got Greene’s address for these tickets from the Maryland Motor Vehicles Administration (MVA). O’Connor also said that Greene has to call Prince George's County police as they are the ones who can authorize the speed camera company to take action. (The ombudsman for the Prince George’s County Police Speed Camera division can be reached at 301-858-6212.)

BMW corporate has not called me back. Neither has the New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s corporate office.

I stayed on hold with Baltimore County twice and had to hang up after waiting nearly 13 minutes.

Then I called Buel Young, a spokesperson for the MVA, for help to fix all of this. Young agreed that if I send him the four notices that Greene got for the other drivers, the MVA would work with those jurisdictions to try to notify the correct cars and drivers.

We will let you know if Greene’s situation is resolved.

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