SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – A Town of Clay man is turning to the Your Stories team for help after he received nearly a dozen bills in the mail that claim he owes money for unpaid tolls in the New York City and New Jersey areas.

The twist? Jeffery French told NewsChannel 9 he hasn’t been to either location in years!

French has been receiving the unpaid toll bills since last year. The most recent bill he got in the mail was only three weeks ago.

Since 2008, French has driven his black Toyota Scion with his customized Empire New York State license plate. Based on the bills he’s receiving, you’d think French has racked up a lot of miles, but that isn’t the case.

“I’ve been getting a ton of them, even from different states.”


Hundreds of dollars in fines are coming from E-ZPass, the MTA, Thruway Authority, and the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission.

The license plate pictured on the bills looks just like French’s. The only differences? It’s a newer NYS Excelsior plate and the vehicle captured by cameras was a white van!

French said the DMV told him there are no records of duplicate plates.

“They claim that it’s the same plate that I have and it’s not.”


French has spent countless hours on the phone trying to dispute these claims. However, he said he hasn’t been able to get through to anyone.

“When you try to call the number that’s on here, you can’t get through,” French said. “I’ve emailed them and I get no response. I just keep getting bills in the mail.”

To help him get to the bottom of this, NewsChannel 9 tried calling the numbers too. An automated message said the request was invalid, told us to try again later, and then the call dropped. It wasn’t just one failed attempt, but several.

French was running out of options. He went to the NYS Troopers’ office near the Syracuse Airport. They also tried calling the numbers provided on the bills and couldn’t get through to anyone.

Troopers don’t believe this is a scam. They believe his license plate has been printed and are suggesting French gets new plates.

“I told them it’s like identity theft at this point. I didn’t know where else to go with it. I didn’t know what to do.”


NewsChannel 9 contacted the NYS DMV for more information about the potential of duplicate plates. A spokesperson said personalized plate combinations are not issued by the DMV to two different registrants.

The DMV also suggested reaching out to the tolling authorities regarding specific toll violations, which NewsChannel 9 has done.

We also reached out to the NYS Thruway Authority, specifically regarding one bill French received. A spokesperson there told us this was an MTA issued bill but the unpaid toll has since been voided.

If you have a question or story for the Your Stories team, call us at (315) 446-9900 or send an email to ‘’