Written by a CameraFRAUD Volunteer.
Mike Waters, Tempe AZ, January 2010
Have you ever wondered what happens when the CEO of “Great Big Incorporated” gets a “camera flash” while driving his company owned Ferrari too fast?
The answer is that nothing much happens!
As it turns out, the company gets a polite “notice of violation” which asks them to turn in the driver! If they choose not to identify anyone (i.e. their boss!) then the citation just goes away. This is due to an Arizona law which logically says a corporation can never receive a photo citation since the corporation does not drive a car and there is simply no way to identify the driver from a photograph!
In plain English, that means that huge companies such as Wal-Mart, Honeywell, and Wells Fargo never have to worry about the “photo enforcement” scams.
These huge companies never even get a citation like you and I would, much less pay a fine!
Only the “little guy” gets forced to pay!
Well there is a way to let you to take advantage of this legal loophole as well without spending a lot of money setting up a large corporation. The best part is that the only cost to you is the DMV title transfer fee!
Some years ago a lawyer who was upset at the implications of this scam developed the “Family Transportation Trust” to take advantage of this loophole and give the “little guy” a way to fight back. The type of trust she selected was a “living trust” which is used together with a will to pass your possessions to your heirs without requiring an expensive probate process. Learn more about the various types of trusts and their uses at: http://www.keytlaw.com/ep/wa0709.htm You should know that while there are trusts which can be used to minimize sales or income taxes this kind of “living trust” has no effect on your income or sales taxes.
Like a corporation, a trust is legal “person”, the trust can buy and sell property like your car, and just like a corporation a trust cannot be issued a photo enforcement ticket since the trust doesn’t drive!
You can download the appropriate trust forms and instructions from the CameraFraud.com website: http://files.meetup.com/1275333/Family%20Transportation%20Trust%20PDF%20Forms%21.zip
The forms are free, but donations are always appreciated! If you can’t afford to give cash then why not collect a dozen or so signatures for the petition drive?
There are instructions included within the “zip” file, but you might also want to look at this discussion on the CameraFraud.com website:
This particular trust is structured for current Arizona law, but it can easily be modified to accommodate changes in the law. This use of the “living trust” has proven to be very robust and has been successfully adapted to accommodate a wide variety of laws all over the world.
You set up the trust by filling out the trust forms, “sell” your car to the trust, and formally transfer your vehicle title to the trust at the DMV office and you too are immune. From then on whenever you are selected as the next camera fraud victim you receive only a “Notice of Violation” which may be ignored without penalty!
For maximum flexibility it is suggested that you keep the name “Family Transportation Trust”, and that the only asset in the trust be a single vehicle. You can set up as many trusts as you wish, the only cost is the printing and the title transfer fee!
Naturally you must have your vehicle title in order to transfer it. If the vehicle is financed then the lender keeps the title and the vehicle must be refinanced as part of the sale. Another great time to use the trust is when you buy a vehicle, you can simply have the title transferred directly to the trust. The lender will probably require a personal guarantee of the loan just as if you were personally buying the vehicle, but otherwise the process should be very much the same.
Since the purpose of the trust is “Estate Planning” the “use classification” and “principal driver” for insurance purposes will not change. This means that your insurance should remain exactly the same as it is now.
It appears that many DMV agents are unfamiliar with trusts and don’t know how to handle them. It is important to remember that the purpose of the trust is for “Estate Planning”, just like preparing a will. The use of the vehicle does not change due to the trust. The vehicle is still used for “personal use” and not “commercial use” for your DMV license tags and other taxes since the actual use of the vehicle has not changed, only the owner has changed. For more on the DMV process, see this discussion on the CameraFraud.com website: http://www.meetup.com/camerafraud/messages/boards/thread/8287092/?a=mp_new_reply_multi_v
The petition to permanently ban the scameras is the only long term solution, but meanwhile you can protect yourself by putting your vehicle into a “Family Transportation Trust”.
As always an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!” The time to set up the trust is before you are selected as the next victim of the photo enforcement scam – once the scamera flashes, it is too late!