Ticketbuster: Mistaken identity causes D.C. woman headaches over tickets

WASHINGTON — Two people in the area have the same full name, and that
coincidence is to blame for a collections agency harassing the wrong woman for
unpaid parking tickets in the District of Columbia.

Sarah Elizabeth Feldman of D.C. was born in April 1983. Sarah Elizabeth
Feldman of Baltimore was born in January 1983. But they are two different
women with different backgrounds — until the Baltimore woman got into

Between November 2007 and January 2008, the Baltimore Feldman received seven
unpaid parking tickets from the District. The fines were $595 after penalties.
But Feldman did not pay.

In April 2014, when Feldman bought a new car at a dealership, her Baltimore
counterpart’s unpaid debts immediately became her problem.

“CarMax told me that I had unpaid parking tickets and D.C. would not let me
register the new car,” says the D.C. Feldman.

“I called the D.C. DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles), and the woman told me
that it was written to a Maryland
Honda. I told her that I never owned a Honda with Maryland plates, but she
said there was nothing she could do.”

The story got more bizarre when she contacted the Maryland Motor Vehicle

“The representative told me that it was my car. But then I asked whether
there was any other information, like a birthdate. That’s when we discovered
the issue,” says Feldman.

“When the Maryland MVA supervisor called me back to say there were two Sarah
Elizabeth Feldmans born in the same year, I was dumbfounded.”

But when she gave the information to the D.C. DMV, the agency told her that
it could do was put a note in the file to allow Feldman to buy the new car.
However, the DMV refused to remove the fine or delink her name from the unpaid
debt. DMV adjudicates all tickets in the city.

Feldman was concerned about how this would affect her when she someday moves
out of the District, so she wanted to get it wiped out.

“Not only did I not have a Honda registered in Maryland, but in 2007 when the
tickets were accrued, I had a Mini Cooper registered in New York State,” she

DMV spokeswoman Vanessa Newton told Feldman to get a certified copy of her New
York registration from 2007.

“When you receive the information from N.Y. DMV, please let me know that you
in receipt of the documents, as well as the service center that you’ll be
visiting to conduct your transaction. I will communicate the details about
your situation to the managerial staff at that location. I will also provide
you with the names of the managers at the service center so that you can work
directly with one of them,” Newton wrote.

With WTOP’s assistance, Feldman was able to get detailed documents from New
and Maryland to prove she and the Baltimore woman were two different people.
She also brought a copy of her birth certificate and copies of her school
transcript from a Buffalo, New York, law school she attended in 2007-2008.

The D.C. DMV agreed to delink the fines from her name.

“I am confused, because I successfully registered a car in 2010, and the D.C.
never mentioned the unpaid parking tickets from 2007. Something must have
happened between 2010 and 2014,” says Feldman.

“I’m just happy this all got cleared up. I don’t blame the D.C. DMV for this
and their representatives were very helpful, along with the Maryland MVA. I
am grateful that WTOP Ticketbuster was there to help me navigate through this
because you made it a lot easier to get this resolved.”

Feldman says she doesn’t have any hard feelings for her Baltimore
doppelgänger, but says she would urge her to pay her parking tickets in the

Follow @WTOP and @WTOPTraffic on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up