$22 million collected after OMV sends out threatening letters
BATON ROUGE- The State Office of Motor Vehicles collected a staggering amount of money from people who owed outstanding fines for a lapse in insurance.
Last October, OMV sent out 1.2 million letters to people who were flagged as having a violation. From October until December, OMV collected $22 million dollars from people who paid up. In December, the list of people who still owed was turned over to the Office of Debt Recovery. The Office of Debt Recovery told WBRZ, it received 555,628 files representing $291,704,700 in OMV debt. Over a 30 day window, ODR has collected almost $4.5 million dollars.
"They just fishing," Ernest Taylor said. "Mostly fishing on what they getting."
Taylor's girlfriend received one of those letters back in October. He said her initial reaction was one of nervousness.
"She panicked," Taylor said. "She didn't know what to do because she said she knew she paid her insurance."
The Office of Motor Vehicles says the money makes up a huge amount that is owed to the state. Last year, we introduced you to Melissa Weimer. She received one of those letters as well, and didn't want to fight it. She opted to pay the $125 fine.
"This is the first time that I got any information about this or was told about this, and I think it's unfair," Weimer said. "I think it's ridiculous for them to finally say something four years later and threaten to suspend my drivers license or withhold my income tax."
But, for people like Taylor, he's ready to fight.
"I think they are trying to get money the best way they can, and it's hurting people in the process," Taylor said.
The Office of Debt Recovery basically functions as the state's collection agency. It has the legal authority to take money out of your tax refund.