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CBS 58 Investigates: Reports of problems at the DMV continue

CBS 58 Investigates: Reports of problems at the DMV continue

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Earlier this month, CBS 58 Investigates reported about an inside ring at the DMV forging car titles, and while multiple people are facing criminal charges, it seems like there are other problems within the system. 

Immediately after the 58 Investigates story aired, we got several calls from people saying they’re having problems with car titles.

Katrina Campbell keeps a folder full of police reports and documents, detailing the months she’s spent trying to get back a car she says was stolen from her.

“It was easy to steal it but it’s hard to get back the actual thing that was mine and I don’t understand that,” Campbell said.

It started back in June. Campbell saw a 1977 Pontiac Grand Ville that looked just like hers, but didn’t recognize the driver. Her husband went to check on their car, which they stored in a rented garage.

“He said the garage is broke in to and the car is stolen,” Campbell said.

She filed a police report on June 14. Shortly after, the car was found. But according to police reports, the driver also had a valid title.

“He’s like I got it off Facebook, off marketplace,” Campbell said.

Campbell did some digging and found ads for her car. So what happened? Well according to DMV records, in early June, a replacement title application was filed online. Then a form allowing someone else to pick up the title from the DMV was filled out and allegedly signed by Campbell. However Campbell says she never signed that form or applied for a replacement title.

“I was shocked, like how did they get all my information?” Campbell said. “They had my date of birth, driver’s license number.”

Campbell called CBS 58 Investigates after watching our story about DMV workers forging titles.

It’s also why Billy and Jenny Thorpe called us. Their situation is a little different. They traded in their car at a Waukesha dealership in October. The dealership sold it at auction.

“Shortly after the new year we received a letter from the Milwaukee tow lot saying that it was there and that we were begin charged for the storage of it,” Jenny said.

They called the tow lot, said they didn’t own the car anymore and were told to ignore the letter. Then they got a call from their insurance company.

“They said that an attorney had contacted them and was trying to file a claim on it because the car has been in an accident and that it had gone through a red light and that there were several injured parties,” Billy said.

Apparently the car is still titled in their name.

“What was your reaction to that?” CBS 58 Investigates asked the Thorpes.

“Shock,” Billy said. “Confusion and a little bit worried because clearly someone is trying to go after us for injuries that we had absolutely nothing to do with.”

We took Campbell and the Thorpes’ cases to the Department of Transportation and asked what’s going on.

Terry Walsh, spokesperson for the DOT, tells CBS 58 Investigates, “In the two cases you cite, neither VIN was involved in internal fraud.”

Adding that in Campbell’s case, “DMV was presented with all the necessary paperwork to issue a replacement title.” We asked if those documents could have been forged, they said that’s an issue for police.

In the Thorpes’ case, the DOT says “The fees submitted by the second dealer [which bought it at auction] were insufficient, so the title transaction was escalated within DMV. By the time that unit pulled the paperwork to process, the vehicle was “junked.”

We’ve asked for clarification about what that means and if the DOT knows who owned the vehicle when it was crashed, but have not received a response.

Meanwhile, Campbell is adamant she never applied for that replacement title. She says the car is the last gift she gave her dad before he died, and it has too much sentimental value to just give up.  So she filed a lawsuit against the DMV.

“That’s the last memory I have with my father, that I gave him,” Campbell said.

CBS 58 Investigates has asked the DOT for an interview multiple times to talk about problems within the DMV, the title and auction process, but so far they have declined.

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