A 90-year-old veteran and retired jail official says he hasn’t driven a car in New York City in half a decade — yet he’s still racking up speeding tickets here because of a scofflaw who stole his license plate.
“This guy’s running around with my plate and whatever happens, it comes back to me. I didn’t do anything!” fumed John J. Maffucci, a sailor during the Korean War.
“I’m at his mercy. I watch the mail every day thinking, ‘Oh God, what is he going to do today?’ “
Maffucci’s front license plate went missing after he struck a deer with his Honda in January 2020, he said. Both he and a state Trooper searched for plate BDX-6081 and couldn’t find it, so Maffucci got new license plates from the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
The first speeding ticket showed up in the mail at his Westchester home about 16 months later.
He reported the theft to state police, but the tickets — at least five so far — keep coming, said Maffucci, who contends no one in the city is bothering to check state records to see if the plate was lost or stolen.
“I don’t think what happened is right,” said his lawyer, Donald Lee Singer, who filed a lawsuit against the city on Maffucci’s behalf in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Maffucci has successfully beaten most of the tickets, but says one judge inexplicably found him guilty for speeding in the Todt Hill section of Staten Island in October.
“The last one somebody found me guilty — based upon what? You had all the evidence,” he said.
Maffucci has spent his life keeping tabs on the bad guys: he was a parole officer who worked his way up the state Parole Board in the 1980s. He also served as the Westchester County Commissioner of Corrections before spending decades as a private investigator, author and screenwriter.
But now, he’s the one handcuffed, by bureaucracy.
“My God, it’s been so obvious what’s going on,” he said. “Somebody’s using a stolen plate and nobody’s doing anything. God I tell ya, none of these people would have worked for me, not in a million years. If they did they wouldn’t last long.”
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