SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Three people were arrested in San Francisco last weekend on charges they misused disabled parking placards. The suspects are facing a variety of charges, including fraud, perjury and burglary. Two are also facing forgery charges for allegedly faking a doctor’s note.
The allegations came to light via an anonymous tip to the Department of Motor Vehicles, according to San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, who says this is an unusual investigation for the D.A.’s office.
“This is the first time that we have actually been confronted with an actual investigation where the placards are being obtained fraudulently. We certainly hear from many people that there seems to be a lot of misuse of these placards. We are going to make it clear that if you get caught doing this kind of stuff that you will be prosecuted.” Gascon said.
Gascon says anyone who is tempted to misuse a disabled parking placard should forget about it – these placards are only intended for people whose health problems make it hard for them to get around.
According to KCBS, KPIX and SF Chronicle Insider Phil Matier, there are more than twice as many disabled placards in San Francisco than there are metered parking spaces.
“People are applying for [placards] and doctors, midwives, dentists, podiatrists, you name it, they can sign off on them and they’re doing it more and more,” Matier said.
You can be fined up to $900 if you’re erroneously using a placard by using a family members’ to run errands. This more recent crackdown is about fraud.
The original argument for these disabled placards was that the people who use them had too hard of a time getting to the meter, onto the curb putting money in the meter, going about their business and then doing it all over again.
Matier says with new meters popping up everywhere that can be accessed and paid through smartphones and credit cards that someone could feasibly be inside their car and pay for parking, thus the argument for the need for accessibility at the curb drops a bit.