Marco couple getting fined for license plate they turned in years ago

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Frank Troha holds an outstanding toll violation for a license plate he and his wife turned in to the state in 2016. They have reported the issue but continue to get stuck with incoming fines in 2020. Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said it will look into the issue after we contacted them. Credit: WINK News.

A Southwest Florida family turned over the license plate of a loved one who died to the State of Florida years ago. That license plate is still being used and racking up fines in other states. But the bill is being sent to the late loved one’s family.

We spoke to Frank and Gwen Troha on Marco Island, who say they are receiving fines in the mail for toll violations they did not commit. We looked at how this swap can happen Tuesday.

“I know we’ve had at least 20 violations so far, maybe more,” Frank said.

The toll citations starting showing up in the Trohas mailbox about two years ago.

“We started getting tolls by mail from New Jersey and New York,” Frank said.

The problem is the violations do not belong to his car. And the license plate shown in recorded images had been turned into a DMV on Marco Island in 2016.

“The only way I think somebody could get this license plate is it had to be stolen,” Gwen said.

Every 10 years or if you drop your insurance coverage, you’re required in Florida to bring your license plate back to the DMV. This is supposed to help prevent scammers from using old plates to commit crimes.

But that’s exactly what the Troha family says is happening to them.

“It’s like a nightmare, and the worst thing is we felt like we did everything that a good responsible citizen should do, and we turned in the plates like we were told,” Frank said.

The Trohas have paperwork from 2016 that proves they surrendered the license plate that continues to rack of violations and fines.

We reached out to Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. A spokesperson told us toll violations are the responsibility of individual toll authorities.

For almost two years, Frank and Gwen have tried to clear this up and even turned to Marco Island Police Department.

“Unless he ever gets arrested or pulled over, this could go on for 10, 20 years,” Gwen said. “We could be in nursing homes or dead, and our kids could be fighting this.”

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