Pinellas County traffic violations going to wrong homes across state

Collection company's 'Skip Tracing' sends 300 plus erroneous notices

ORLANDO, Fla. – Michael Bondi of Orlando is one of more than 300 area residents who have received an erroneous collection notice for a past due traffic violation in Pinellas County.

“What cities are there? Clearwater, St. Pete? I’ve never been there,” Bondi said.

The notice, issued by Penn Credit Corporation of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, advised Bondi he owed $348.75 for an unlawful speed violation dating back to Oct. 20, 2013.

The notice also suggested his license “may have been suspended” by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

While the notice arrived at Biondi’s home address, it was addressed to Michael A Oana, not Bondi.

“The second name is not right at all, it looks like a typo merging my wife’s name (Anna) with my name,” he said.

A News 6 investigation found the collection company’s  “skip tracing” data system inadvertently issued more than 375 notices to the wrong people, some contained two violations on the same notice.

According to Trustify, skip tracing or skip locating is the act of finding, or “tracing” someone who has left, or “skipped” town, often for purposes of debt collection -- hence the term "skiptrace." 

William Burgess, manager of the criminal court customer service for Pinellas County, said his office has been receiving similar complaints for weeks.

In statement to News 6, Burgess wrote:

“The Pinellas County Clerk’s Office has been and will continue to work with citizens that have received a letter from Penn Credit in error,” he said. "I have advised Mr. Bondi that he should not encounter any additional issues.”

Burgess said that Penn Credit is under contract with the county and the notices are not part of
scheme to defraud, simply a high-tech glitch.

Burgess said letters of apology will be issued to everyone who has received one of the erroneous notices.

The county asks anyone who believes they have received a collection notice from Pinellas County by mistake should call:  727-464-7000.

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