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New York State Department of Motor Vehicles investigators are targeting the use of fake license plates, saying drivers are using them to avoid insurance and registration requirements, tolls and skirt speed cameras.

Since January, the effort has resulted in 420 citations, including multiple license plate violations, traffic tickets, towed vehicles, false registrations, impounds, uninspected vehicles, unregistered vehicles and fraudulent temporary registrations.

The maximum penalty for using a fake license plate is four years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 or double the gain obtained, according to New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law. This includes being in possession of the machines to make such plates.

If you purchase a vehicle out of state you can be issued an in-transit permit which allows you 15 days to bring the car back to New York and get it registered and insured. But, according to NYS police the problem is the plates are being reproduced and sold on sites like craigslist.

“We realized that fraudulent plates were becoming an ongoing problem, so we reached out to our partners to help solve the problem,” said Albany County Sheriff Craig D. Apple, Sr. “NYS DMV Investigators were happy to work with us to help proactive patrols solve the problem. I believe we have successfully reduced the number of fraudulent registrations in this area; however, we will continue our proactive efforts to combat fraud and other violations."

"When someone uses a fake license plate, it means that hard-working taxpayers and motorists are paying for someone trying to cheat the system," said Mark J.F. Schroeder, DMV Commissioner and Chairman of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee. "Drivers should know that our investigators are working closely with other law enforcement agencies to address this issue, and violators can expect to be caught."

“Fake license plates are often used to avoid tolls, vehicle registration fees, speed and school zone surveillance cameras, and to avoid detection by law enforcement,” Steven A. Nigrelli, Acting State Police Superintendent said. "Using fake plates, these criminals not only try to evade the system to avoid paying tolls, but many of them also try to avoid the police to avoid serious penalties, transport drugs or continue other criminal activities.” He went on to state, “This recklessness puts the public at risk and it will not be tolerated. The State Police will continue to work with the DMV and our local law enforcement partners to stop these egregious criminals and bring them to justice."


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