Don't Mess with New Jersey: Paying with Pennies Got Man Into Trouble

Frank Gilberti thought that his traffic ticket was "non-cents." He noticed that the Bloomfield, New Jersey, municipal court accepts cash to pay the fine, so he decided to pay with real cents: $56 in pennies!

That's when he got into more trouble:

"I went to the bank and got $56 worth of rolled pennies and went down to the court house and they refused to take it. They had told me to bring cash. I was under the assumption this was cash."

Non-cents? Not really. Pennies are legal tender. In fact, at the courthouse WCBS-TV found a sign saying cash is accepted. That's why the Nutley resident said he fought back, calling the court and convincing workers there to take his pennies.

But the 22-year-old said there was a condition -- that he write his driver's license number on each roll. "I simply asked them if I would have to do just this if I were handing in $56 bill. Would I have to write my driver's license number on each bill? They had no response," Gilberti said.

And even more shocking he said: "Then I found out there was a warrant out for my arrest."


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I work in retail, have for many a year. I had a lady come in, and buy a Nintendo Wii, Wii Carrying Case, Wii Play game, Wii Nunchuks (2), and about 3 new release games. A total of 490 dollars worth of product (before tax) in rolled change.

I accepted it. It was all there, and we weren't short a dime that night. It went to the bank in a change order later that week.

I'm glad this guy stood up, but sad that he let the man get him down. Money is money, if you're going to hand out pennies as change, then you should accept them as payment, no matter the amount. As for the DL number on each roll... how many other fine-payers are gonna pay in pennies? If an issue comes up, you're going to remember the guy, and then you can issue a warrant or whatever.

The system has been failing since its conception. This is just another example that the system suffers an original flaw.
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About 15 years ago, while on business in New York City (Brooklyn)at the Metro Transit Authority, I parked my car about 3 blocks away. No meter, no yellow/red lines, no temp restricted parking signs or permanent ones and I checked, being a frequent Manhattan visitor. There were other cars there also and it was late in the day in this business area. Two hours later, I come out and the car is gone. First I thought it was stolen, then after 20 calls, I learned it was towed. I was irate and after walking around I found a no-parking sign 6 CITY BLOCKS AWAY! Brooklyn impound closes, (unlike Manhattan which is a 24hr ATM for the city) so by the time I got the 260.00 tow fee (thats right tow/ticket/STORAGE), it was closed. I had to return the next day and pay 290. What was I going to do, contest it when the court date was 30 days a way? Spend the next week arguing with assinine beaurcrats while I have no car. Was I going to get the tow fee back after I won the case?..yeah right. This was legalized extortion. (and they talk about the mob...they are worse). They count on people paying to generate income, legal or not. THEY make it tough, and (not worth your while) to contest it and have your day in court. I have, (and had at the time also), a perfect driving record and clean everything. Maybe this guy was ticked because of something similar. Everyone assumes he received a valid ticket. Fines are supposed to punish bad behavior and now it seem like they are just used to bail bloated local govts out. Have you seen the great service taxpayers get at DMV? They are always mad at the world and think they can do whatever they want, and they can, or you wait forever. The line is "By the people, for the people", but some "public servants" forgot or never knew that. Also, I'm sure they HAD to take the pennies. When I was younger the Garden State Parkway machines wouldn't accept them and now they do.
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