LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A security company has been issuing parking tickets that may be fooling drivers, according to CBS2 investigative reporter David Goldstein.
Private security guards who work for Management Security Services, Inc. and City Parking Enforcement, Inc. have been handing out citations that look similar to those issued by a city parking officer or police officer.
Richard Raquidan received a $15 ticket from City Parking Enforcement in March for having a missing front license plate while parked in his apartment complex.
"The ticket looks like it's from like, the city of Los Angeles," he said.
The ticket, which came with a "you must respond within 10 days" message, also included an official-looking envelope to pay the fine, which was addressed to the Citation Processing Center in Los Angeles.
"It has all the similar looking statements that make it look like a real ticket," Raquidan said.
Raquidan's cousin Allan was cited for an invalid parking permit, which was a $50 fine.
He told Goldstein that he has a valid permit, but it wasn't properly displayed.
"It actually makes me very angry, as I said, that they would use the name City Parking Enforcement to legitimize what they are doing to unknowing citizens," Allan said.
L.A. Department of Transportation Deputy Chief Brian Hale said people are being duped.
"Clearly, the fact that they designed this to resemble an actual citation would indicate that clearly they were trying to mislead," he said.
According to the California attorney general, private property owners have no authority to issue citations with monetary fines.
Debbie Andelin said she got a citation in a Garden Grove lot, but found out the ticket could be worthless.
Asked if she paid for it, Andelin said, "No. They can't [come after me.]"
Garden Grove police are now investigating Management Security Services.
"In my opinion, it may be fraudulent, and I think it could be a felony for them to be doing this depending on how many of these citations are out there," Garden Grove police Lt. Ben Stauffer said.
Goldstein visited Jesus Flores, the owner of Management Security Services and the president of City Parking Enforcement, according to public records.
Both companies operate out of a small storefront in Compton, the same site where Flores apparently used to run a taco restaurant.
Asked if he has the right to give out such tickets, Flores said, "I do not know what you're talking about, sir."
When Goldstein told Flores that the attorney general's office said that private property owners don't have the right to give out citations, Flores said, "Okay, well, that's their opinion."
For an example of a ticket from the CBS2 investigation, click here.
For an example of a ticket from the city of Garden Grove, click here.
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