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Brooklyn Man Wrongly Slapped With 643 Summonses By Dept. Of Sanitation

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Imagine getting more than 600 summonses from the city for something you didn't do. That's what happened to an elderly Brooklyn man who's facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines, all because of a mistake.

Levy Zelishovsky has done some heavy lifting trying to get to the bottom of a mistake that has him weighed down by summonses -- 643 of them.

"It's a bad mistake. I mean it's an error, it happens," Zelishovsky told CBS 2's John Slattery.

It's a mistake based on 643 flyers illegally posted on public lampposts by a now-defunct moving company. The 72-year-old Zelishovsky is not a mover. He works on Coney Island Avenue in the insurance business.

"I've been in the insurance business over 40 years. I've never been in the moving business, not at all," Zelishovsky said.

The flyer has a phone number which sanitation traced to Zelishovsky by using a reverse check on the phone number. The problem is they made a mistake.

A spokesman for the Department of Sanitation said: "It was only afterwards that the (Department's Enforcement Division) discovered that Mr. Zelishovsky had not had that number assigned to him since 2006."

But Zelishovsky said the number on the flier was never his. In fact, he said he's had the same phone number for 25 years.

At $75 apiece, the summonses amount to more than $48,000. The insurance man said he's glad the error was caught.

"If they clear it up, I'm very happy and life has to go on," Zelishovsky said.

Zelishovsky has a hearing scheduled for later this month, but the Department of Sanitation said it is withdrawing its prosecution.

The question now is whether the Department of Sanitation has been able to locate the proper culprit for the 643 summonses? Slattery was told it's under investigation.

Have you ever been the victim of a bureaucratic mix-up? Share your story in the comments section.

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