US security consultant Joseph Tartaro has received $ 12,049 (nearly $ 11,000) in improperly assigned traffic fines, Wired reports Wednesday. The fines were sent to him because his license plate contains a programmer's joke, Tartaro said during a presentation at the Defcon hacker conference.
In the United States you can request a self-made license plate. Tartaro chose a license plate with the text 'null'. This term is used by computers to make clear that nothing is mentioned in a field.
The man thought that the chosen number plate would prevent him from having to pay traffic fines, because computers would get confused if the word was entered. However, one year after the registration of the license plate, he was sent a traffic fine by another motorist.
Always a fine if an agent does not enter anything
Tartaro paid the fine, after which his car ended up in a penalty system of the computers of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Since then he has been fined every time a cop forgot to enter the license plate when handing out a fine.
The company that handles the fines only wanted to remit them if Tartaro could prove that he does not own all the cars involved in the fines. Tartaro had even received fines from 2014, years before he had registered his license plate.
After discussions with the DMV, Tartaro managed to reduce the fines to $ 6,262. He still receives new traffic fines. A little later the amount was further reduced to $ 140.
Tartaro has to pay part of the fines
At the same time, the DMV requires Tartaro to pay part of the fines. If he does not do this, he may not re-register his car with the government agency. The consultant refuses to do that, because this would be a confession of debt.
"If I try to change my license plate now, I think the situation will become even more confusing," Tartaro said. "I don't dare change it until all of this has been resolved."