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2 Investigators: Cash-Strapped City Reaching Back To Decades-Old Parking Tickets

(CBS) – Twenty-year-old parking tickets?  Chicago motorists are getting notices in the mail now telling them they owe for unpaid tickets dating back decades.

It's a way for the city to generate new revenue with old tickets.  In this original report, 2 Investigator Dave Savini shows how this could happen to you.

It happened to Anna Parson. She was so outraged she reached out for help. She wants to know how the city can do this and asks: How can anyone  fight a ticket that is so old?

"It's not fair to grab something from 21 years ago, and say you owe this," Parson says. "And it's not fair to say, 'Too bad, prove it.'"

Parson says she recently received a notice in the mail saying she had unpaid parking tickets and late fees from as far back as 1994. She says she feels the City of Chicago is taking advantage of her and wants to warn others.

She said it now is up to her to prove she paid the tickets.

"Who keeps receipts for 21 years?" she asks.

Making matters worse, she has received a vehicle seizure notice, and any vehicle in her name can get booted.

Parson says the City never sent prior warnings about the alleged tickets.

"And they knew where I lived," she says. "I was never notified -- no letters, not statements, no record on my credit. Also, I was able to get my license, my license plates, and that's what's disturbing to me. If I owed these tickets, then why was I able to do so many things?"

She feels like this is a sudden desperation tactic by Chicago to collect on an estimated $1.5 billion in uncollected ticket fines dating back 1990. Her bill for the old tickets: $440.

To avoid seizure, Parson said she tried to set up a payment plan only to be told that would cost her an extra 20 percent for each fine.

A city spokesperson says they have increased enforcement against those who owe fines and penalties to bring in revenue. There is no statute of limitations; they can go as far back as they would like.

The city claims they sent Parson numerous notices for each ticket and that she contested them years ago. Parson says that's not true.

The city confirmed this is a new attempt to collect revenue through people who receive new speed camera tickets or request new city stickers with updated address information.

They've now collected $800,000 since implementing the program in May.

Another person tells CBS 2 he got hit with two tickets from the mid-1990s, which he found out about when he tried to renew his city plumber's license.

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