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And The Winner Is, With $171,746 in Tickets ...

April 6, 1990

NEW YORK (AP) _ Sylvia Matos parked her car wherever she wanted - in front of fire hydrants, at bus stops, beside expired parking meters. The result: $171,746 in fines and the dubious title of New York’s No. 1 scofflaw.

Broken down, the numbers indicate Ms. Matos collected an average 2.4 tickets a day - including holidays. Her efforts to avoid detection and collection included registering her car under 19 different addresses and 36 sets of license plates.

Unfortunately, the city doesn’t expect to collect a penny from Ms. Matos, officials said Thursday.

Ms. Matos received 2,800 tickets between Dec. 31, 1984, and Feb. 28, 1988, and ignored them all, said Parking Violations Bureau Director Tom McEnery. She is the PVB’s most wanted motorist.

″She got tickets all over the place for all different things,″ said McEnery. ″They run the gamut from double parking to expired meters to hydrants.″

Such bureaucratic wheeling and dealing should no longer be possible, said Tom Apple, a state Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman. A 1988 law allows the DMV to suspend the registration of anyone who has 25 or more unanswered tickets,

City officials are not optimistic they’ll ever collect from the woman, whose grand total includes fines and 9 percent annual interest. Ms. Matos, whose last known address was in Manhattan, may no longer live in New York, said McEnery.

″You’re always going to find somebody trying to beat the system. But she’s our No. 1, no question,″ the director said. ″We’ve tried to find out where she’s at, but it’s a cold trail.″

Ms. Matos was $22,000 ahead of the runner-up, Charles Rivera and his $149,342 tab. The list of the top 10 scofflaws in the city was first reported Thursday in the New York Post.

Two other scofflaws - Mario Correa and Santos Ortiz - ran up more than $100,000 in tickets.

All 10 people on the list are either indigent or missing, McEnery said. Translation: none of them will be paying the city either.