(WSVN) - A South Florida woman is getting traffic violations from a state where she has never been too. With fines piling up, her frustration is mounting.

Karen Hensel reports with tonight’s 7 Investigate.

Marlene Joseph lives in Deerfield Beach and spends most of her time working at a nursing home.

Marlene Joseph/plate problems: “I go to work, I come home, I go to work, that’s all i do. I don’t go anyplace.”

So imagine her surprise when she started getting driving violations and fines from a state more than 3,000 miles away.

Karen Hensel: “Have you ever been to Kent, Washington?”

Marlene Joseph “I don’t know where that is.”

Kent, Washington is literally in the opposite corner of the country from South Florida. But over the last year, Marlene has been getting violations from the City of Kent and the state of Washington. Including hundreds of dollars in fines for running red lights, speeding, and toll violations.

Marlene Joseph: “The whole thing is like a nightmare I can’t wake up from.”

The violations and court notices come so frequently, she says just the daily routine of going to her mailbox is stressful.

Marlene Joseph: “Every time I open my mail and I feel like something punch me in my stomach, and I say, ‘oh, my God, here we go again.’

It all started after Marlene bought a used car in 2018.

She says the dealership gave her the license plate JNLC37. But later, the dealer asked her to return that plate and gave her a new one.

It’s the plate she returned, JNLC37, which is showing up on traffic cameras in Washington State. While the car in the photos is a black Lexus, the violations show that the tag is still linked to Marlene’s name, address and silver Lexus.

Marlene Joseph: “I have no clue. How did that person get my old license plate?”

That’s what we wanted to know.

So we asked the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for an explanation.

They said records show the tag was marked as lost or stolen. As for how the plate resurfaced on another car and continued to be registered in Marlene’s name, that is still a mystery.

Marlene Joseph: “So every day that I cry and I’m very upset. I can’t, you know, this has been going on too long, and we’re talking about my life here. I told my kids, ‘I know, you know, it’s better if I die or if I go to jail, maybe the whole thing will be over.'”

And hopefully it will be over.

After we started asking questions, officials from the state of Florida reached out to Marlene directly. And as of last week, her license plate was finally detached in Florida’s system from her name and address, meaning she should no longer receive any more toll violations.

Karen Hensel, 7News.

For more information on Florida license plates, click here


Copyright 2023 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox