SUSPECTED FRAUD: IA License Plates In New York

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The narrow streets of Brooklyn, New York are jam packed and adding to the congestion are 200 hundred cars with Polk and Linn county Iowa plates that have parked on the street for months.

Stoney McMurray lives in the Ditmas Park West neighborhood. He says all of his neighbors have been asking the same question.

“Why are all of these Iowa cars on the street here? We don`t have many Iowans here.”

McMurray says a local business uses his street as parking lot.

“We see guys that are clearly employees that are bringing them then walking back to their headquarters,” commented McMurray.

The Ditmas Park West neighborhood association president, Joel Siegel is fed up.

He sent a letter to the Iowa Department of Transportation and Iowa Insurance Division in May saying, “We are concerned the registering and insuring of these vehicles in Iowa may be improper.”

Also in the letter Siegel specially names rental car business that could be the ones causing all the problems.

Investigators say it would not be uncommon for a business to register several cars. However, they say the it’s strange that the vehicles were registered in Iowa but are being used elsewhere.

Tom Alger with the Iowa Insurance Division says, “Iowa happens to be one of the states that's consistently lower in cost of insurance and cost of operation of a car.”

In Iowa it’s about $500 cheaper to register and insure a car then the state of New York; a red flag for the insurance division. Alger wonders if the car owners are trying to avoid the proper premium on their insurance.

The Iowa Department of Transportation says this could be a case of vehicle fraud.

The state has dealt with similar cases in bordering states but investigators say they’ve never seen this many. Major Paul Steier says the next step is figuring out if the Iowa business the plates are registered under is real.

“The business shows an Iowa address and so what we are determining is if this is a legitimate Iowa business and when they obtained the titles and registration for those vehicles. Did they give us valid and legit identity for the business and for the address?” says Steier.

If the business owner is found guilty of this he could face felony level criminal charges.