Audit shows Orange County lost traffic tickets, sent citations to wrong people



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Two extensive audits that reviewed the records for the sheriff's and county clerk's offices found thousands of Orange County traffic tickets are unaccounted for, and the clerk's office charged a handful of drivers for tickets they didn't really owe.

Tahlia King was shocked when Channel 9 showed her she likely paid someone else's speeding ticket.

King received a bill for the $132 ticket in the mail in 2010.

"It's intimidating to a single mom who works full-time and has the responsibility of two boys, one with autism, to take the time out of work to make phone calls, so I just paid it," King told Channel 9.

The same issue happened to a handful of others.

Comptroller Martha Haynie emphasizes that the error rate was only a small fraction of 160,000 citations that were reviewed.

"If you're the citizen whose citation gets misfiled or you get charged with something you didn't think you did, then it's significant," Haynie said.

Her office decided to do the audit after hearing reports that some overwhelmed employees in Tennessee were found stuffing thousands of tickets in desk drawers.

"That is not the situation in this county," she said.

But as for the lapses that did occur, newly appointed Orange County Clerk Eddie Fernandez is already making changes.

"One of them is notify the Sheriff's Office as soon as we receive citations if we see discrepancies, and also implement technology," he said.

King is just hoping she'll now be able to get her money back.

"I feel violated," she said. "I feel violated by the government."

As for the gaps in deputies' ticket books that left thousands of tickets unaccounted for, the Sheriff's Office is putting procedures in place to keep better track of citations.