State audit uncovers unpaid traffic fines in Town of Niagara

TOWN OF NIAGARA (WIVB) — The New York State Comptroller released an audit today implying that the Town of Niagara court could be doing more to collect almost a half million dollars that it’s owed in traffic ticket money.

Auditors say the town court under Justices John Teixeira and James Faso has not collected all of the fees and fines still owed.

The audit says the town is owed up to $399,321 on traffic tickets dating back to 1989.

There are over 11,000 unpaid tickets dating as far back as thirty years. The state comptroller recommends better record keeping and that the town court work more closely with the state Department of Motor Vehicles on scofflaws.

Town Supervisor Lee Wallace blames much of the problem on the fact that many of the tickets went to visitors from Ontario and Pennsylvania. If they don’t show up for court or pay the fine, it’s hard to collect from those out of state.

“We have a lot of people who live in Canada who come to the outlet. We can’t locate these people and we can’t extradite them across the border for a traffic ticket,” said Wallace.

He goes on to say that he and the town judges have done nothing illegal.

“There absolutely is not anything illegal going on here,” said Wallace.

The town has 90 days submit a corrective action plan.

The supervisor said he will meet with the town justices and police on what changes can be made to record keeping but he adds the town can’t do much about it when drivers – especially Canadians – ignore traffic ticket fines.

“We have two justices that have been on the bench for 39 years Justice Teixeira and Justice Faso for over 20 and very well respected and their courts are run very efficiently.”

 

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