By Olivia Scheck
MANHATTAN — Parking ticket scofflaws beware — The City of New York is coming for you.
With $680 million in overdue parking fines since 2002, the city’s Department of Finance is increasingly hiring private collection agencies and crossing state lines to collect on the unpaid tickets, the New York Times reported.
Recently, the department set debt collectors loose on nearly half a million vehicle owners, representing $209 million in outstanding fines, according to the Times.
“We have not taken anywhere near an aggressive enough posture to collect this money,” city finance commissioner David Frankel told the paper. “We’re going to take a much more aggressive stand.”
While the Finance Department used to wait until violators accumulated $800 in overdue fines before handing their information over to collection agencies, officials told the Times that any amount in overdue fines could prompt a visit from one of the firms.
Additionally, while it had been practice to prevent debtors who owe more than $350 in fines from renewing their registrations, the city is now suspending registrations for drivers who have failed to pay at least five fines in the past 12 months, according to the paper.
The city’s most flagrant parking ticket scofflaws tend to be commercial trucking companies, but several individuals also managed to make the top ten violators list, the Times noted.
One city resident, Anthony Torres, 41, of the Bronx, owes the city $57,526 for parking violations, according to the paper.