Paradise Valley Caught In $193k Ticket Fraud


A group campaigning to eliminate photo enforcement in Arizona has forced Paradise Valley to admit that it has been shortchanging drivers. A volunteer with the group discovered the city used illegally short yellows at the intersection of Tatum Boulevard and McDonald Drive. The motorist was mailed a red light camera ticket for allegedly entering the intersection just 0.2 seconds after the light had turned red.

“I was nailed with a ticket at an intersection that left me very perplexed because I didn’t think I was going to get a ticket,” David K. wrote on June 16. “I thought I was close enough to the intersection to pass the limit line before the light turned red. Well, I thought wrong because the duration for the yellow light on a 40 MPH speed limit road was only three seconds…”

…Altogether, 1063 motorists issued red light camera tickets between May 6 and June 16 will receive refunds if paid or have their citations canceled. Most have not paid. This represents a loss of $193,466 in potential revenue to the city.

It’s important to note that less than a day after the whistleblower posted his video online and contacted the city, Paradise Valley quietly corrected the yellow light timing to the proper threshold. A video made by the driver before-and-after was the only proof of the misdeed, so you can be assured that without it the issue would have been quietly swept under the rug.

Redflex and Paradise Valley: Where perpetrating fraud is always about the money.

34 Responses to Paradise Valley Caught In $193k Ticket Fraud

  1. Cutting Torch says:

    Next demonstration in Paradise Valley anyone ? Right to the belly of the beast, where the scam all started.

  2. Stacey says:

    Like I said in an earlier post, we might want to start timing all the lights that have photo radar cameras. Obviously the people of Arizona are getting screwed.

  3. Kenneth Bond says:

    If politics is a dirty rotten business, what does that say about those who are part of the government.

  4. Archie1954 says:

    The matter should not stop there. Fraud was committed and someone should pay for that fraud. If criminal charges are impossible why not a lawsuit framed in fraud against the city, municipality, county, whatever?

  5. kandaris says:

    I do agree its time to start holding these people responsible at all levels. They have betrayed a sacred trust and we are complicit if we do nothing about it. Most of this kind of corruption happens because our elected and appointed officals are encouraged by the laziness of all of us.

  6. The article states that the city manager is going to investigate to find out how it happened. I plan to follow up and get some answers in a few days.

    • Will Kay says:

      Just like Doc so eloquently put it below…”The timing has to be PROGRAMMED in.”

      • Chuck says:

        Not only does it have to be programmed in. Improper after market software can cause problems.
        The crystal timing mechanism can begin to waffle.

        According to the ADOT “No controller should allow less than 3 seconds”

        After reading material about controllers, I discovered the timing sequence has a fail/safe mode.

        The traffic signal will perform a self-diagnostic. If it appears wrong all signals will flash RED.

        I am no electronics expert, but couldn’t this mechanism be rigged?
        Depending on the starting point of phasing/timing sequence.

        In recent years there has been a concern of suppliers of electronic parts and purchasers buying cheaper knockoffs.
        Claiming to meet OEM standards but proving inferior. But they’re cheaper.

        You have engineer’s texting on trains, a violation of standards, what makes traffic engineers’ saints?

        So this City manager is going to investigate sweep up and remove the evidence? The Fox is to be trusted to watch over the sheeple?

        “Nothing to see here folks! Move along”

        There should be an investigation by Federal Highway Administration.
        Did PV violate MUTCD standards when it sought warrants erecting this light?
        Did PV receive Federal-matching funds?

        I don’t know the exact language, but a motorist must obey all traffic control devices that are in accordance.. The traffic control devises must be lawful, before a city can issue citations for failure to observe lawfully erected Traffic control devises.
        Knowingly erecting or allowing this activity is UNLAWFUL.

        Who will issue a citation to PV for unlawful conduct, yet they and other municipalities are salivating at the thought of unmercifully bringing to justice, drivers who disobey the Law?

        • The Keeper of the Seven Keys says:

          As an MSEE with 16+ years of experience in Automated Control systems I have a damn strong grounds to believe that it is NOT kind a hardware malfunction and/or unexpected software error.
          Most likely it was intentionally preset with reduced duration of “yellow” phase.
          >>> Improper after market
          >>> software can cause problems.
          I believe traffic light control unit have to have electronically signed firmware and should be designed as “high dependability requirements” device (which includes, e.g., “conflict condition supervisor” circuitry, etc.). Such measures are usually rendering probability that faulty device mimics normal operation virtually to “never”.

          >>> The crystal timing mechanism
          >>> can begin to waffle.
          to approx. 70% of initial frequency? I’m not buyin’ that… :o)

          • Chuck says:

            The law states no yellow light should be less than 3 seconds. If that crystal waffles at all, then is a violation of the law. 2.95 seconds is not 3 seconds. How beneficial/convenient, if the error in the waffling crystal, benefits the municipality and not the driver? All this without getting caught because of unrecogizable chicanery.

            If the state is going to rely on the accuracy of electronic devises then the adage “fight by the sword, die by the sword” should apply.
            Imagine a breath analyzer to determine BAC was off only a fraction. That is why the Supreme Court has ruled; defendants are entitled to an independent review. Defendants are denied Due process rights if they are denied the opportunity to discover exculpatory evidence. The State cannot withhold the evidence as though it alone could establish what evidence the defense could use. Being able to rebut the States assertion of accuracy or reliability of the machine is fundamental to fairness.

            It is prejudicial error, to claim they sent me a ticket, days after the alleged violation, then because the law states they must serve me personally adding further delay. All the while the delay deprives me of my Due process rights. The Court’ have determined that some jurisdictions have abused allowing defendants a reasonable time after the State has gathered electronic evidence to be used at trial against defendants. Of course the State or municipality doesn’t want you to win, in order to prevent you from a successful challenge they create an environment of bias.

            The engineer who doesn’t notice the waffling crystal, because it’s within the allowable +/- range could give a darn. In fact, because of recent cutbacks in the budget, if 2 or 3 tenths off from the lawful yellow timing, and the equipment keeps working and the municipality makes a few more bucks, (maybe the cuts to staff won’t occur)? Besides; who’ll notice.
            Except some Clerk, who I suspect was jeered privately for creating a firestorm. Trouble maker?
            Who filled out the logs? Who presented to the Court, the certification that the light was in compliance to the law? This would have been an essential element the officer would have had to present, in order to establish, the law had been violated and that the charges against defendant were reasonable grounds to convict.

            • The Keeper of the Seven Keys says:

              I see your point. Nevertheless, I’m still consider that for aforementioned case (traffic light is working fine except duration of “yellow” phase which *somehow* got 30% _shorter_) the probability of equipment fault is well beyond the threshold of accountability for investigation purposes. Again, most likely it was intentional fraudulent tampering with device’s presets.

              P.S. Just example -sudden 50 milliseconds deviation on 3 seconds timespan from your example assumes using of timebase crystal resonator with DOP as crapy as ~15000 ppm (parts-per-million) – there’s no such a thing.

            • John Moore says:

              Crystal oscillators are very accurate. A crystal error will not cause this sort of malfunction.

              It was clearly purposeful.

  7. doc says:

    Just a brief note to state an opinion about the shortened yellow lights in Paradise Valley. So, I guess that the media’ll go for the “mistake” or the “error” (either mechanical or human) story. Fortunately, evidently no one had to go with the “Dead Motorist” story…all in the name of the almighty Federal Reserve Note. This endangered EVERYBODY, from little kids crossing in the crosswalk, to Motoring Citizens, to Police Officers. These traffic control systems don’t lose of gain time by error…just like your digital watch, or your cell phone, or your computer. The timing has to be PROGRAMMED in. I don’t have an engineering degree…as a matter of fact, I’m just a Drag Racing enthusiast. Which is how I know what little I do about…lights…red, Yellow, & GREEN. So I’m asking you to be different…just tell the truth about this situation, & walk away with your dignity.

    Sincerely, Doc(personal info replaced…) from Prescott”

    I swore I wouldn’t post here again. But I had to share with you all what I sent this town mgr last night. As to the laziness mentioned in kandaris’ post, I couldn’t agree more. I preach this all the time. If the APATHY doesn’t vanish, our FREEDOM will!

    As to my personal truths, Just in case it comes up, I ALWAYS DID have my dignity. As I’m sure everyone here does. It is STILL my Honor & Privilige to support this cause…although I hope our work is Quick & Complete!

  8. Concerned motorist says:

    My hat goes off to the gentleman who took the time to make that video and contact his elected officals. If we don’t want it, we can change it, this is our country! “All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.” This is a direct qoute from Article 2, Section 2, of the Arizona Constitution. Most people don’t realize how much power we have by law.

  9. Concerned motorist says:

    I bookmarked this page a long time ago! I check in almost daily, and occasionally post.

  10. krsd says:

    Looks like Techdirt picked up this story:

  11. I wonder how many accidents the shorter yellow light caused? I drive through that intersection quite a bit and have seen a couple in the last year.

  12. Dr Jett says:

    If someone had died as a result of the shortened lignt, it would be interesting to see how The City of Paradise Valley would have defended their actions.

  13. John Moore says:

    As one who has lived decades in a county island surrounded by the fascist Town of Paradise Valley, this hardly surprises me. They were the pioneers in revenue extraction via photo-radar. I think a major reason is the people of PV don’t want the rest of us driving through their wonderful town, so they set the speed limits artificially low, and then sock it to us with the radar.

    I’ve been nailed twice by the speed radar. All it takes is a minute of driving by the conditions instead of driving on instruments. Both times was on a four lane, divided road, with no traffic at all. The speed limit was (ludicrously) 40mph.

    When I enter PV (which I have to do to get to or from my home), I switch to pilot mode (I used to be a pilot). I keep an eye on the instruments – a GPS with precise speed readout – when that eye would be better utilized watching the road. But hey, what else can I do. These thieves not only nail you for a trivial offense, they also put it as points against your license, driving up your insurance costs.

    Whenever the topic comes up in the Paradise Valley Independent, the comments section is filled with “virtuous” people explaining that you shouldn’t exceed the speed limit (even though Arizona law allows it) – as if it were a physical law set by God.

    This is pure exploitation and oppression. Those little vans have got to go.

  14. Drive hundred of miles a day says:

    I drive surface streets all over the Valley of the Sun. Mostly Phoenix, Scottsdale and PV. I was driving my son home from the Dentist in Tempe in June 2009 when I couldn’t get on the freeway at Rural. So, I drove north on Rural and at the first light, got flashed when the light went from green to red (figuratively). I immediately knew there had to be something terribly wrong since I am so accustomed to how long a light stays yellow. I doubted I would get a ticket because I thought there would be a fail-safe on the camera. At the next traffic light, however, another short yellow.

    Well, I did get a ticket, and the red light ticket is very serious.

    I looked at the video of the camera and the yellow light was 2.7 seconds. My vehicle was inches from the cut off when the light turned. Two vehicles went after me. Any city with yellow light under 3.9 seconds is greedy and clearly doesn’t care about safety. I would have had to have SLAMMED on the brakes to stop on that short of a yellow.

    15 years ago I was stopped at a red light when a sports car rear ended me at at least 45 mph. I had a concussion and the only thing the officer asked me was for my license. The other driver had no insurance and told the officer I stopped suddenly on a yellow. THe officer never asked me, but if there was a red light camera at that intersection, the next day the video would have shown I never got above 10 mph and had been completely stopped for several seconds before being hit by a speeding, sliding car. My life was affected terribly, and I always believe red light cameras were good. Now I see they are just a fraud to raise revenue.

    I am a convert. The cameras need to come down.

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