You ever think what would happen if you just went through one of those E-Z Pass lanes that don't have a gate? And then nothing happens, so you just sorta do it again? And again? And again and again and again and then it turns out you racked up over $200,000? No? Weird. That's what one guy in Virginia did.
Jason Bourcier is a 33-year old ((trust me, his age will become relevant pretty soon) financial consultant from Virginia, who took a trucking job driving along the Dulles Toll Road in Northern Virginia during the recession to help make ends meet, according to USA Today:
"I would go through late at night, and there weren't any attendants," Bourcier says. "One day, I asked an attendant if the cameras were on when there were no attendants on duty. He said they weren't. So I started going through without paying the tolls."
It turns out that attendant was just being a big silly goose, as the joyful people who occupy toll booths tend to be, because those cameras were recording who was going through the E-Z Pass lane.
Let nobody say the government doesn't like to collect its money.
It all went quite swimmingly for the first month until he got a notice from E-Z Pass that, whoops, he owed $50 in tolls and $1,200 in administrative fees, because E-Z Pass apparently has the late-fee policy that everyone so loved of Blockbuster which I hear is going really well, for them.
He was able to bargain that down to $800, which he couldn't pay anyway, but because he now owed them eight hundred bucks he couldn't get a transponder tag. Commence the downward spiral:
Over the next 3½ years, Bourcier says, he used the toll road almost every day. Sometimes, he paid cash; other times, he sailed through the EZ Pass lanes — on about one-sixth of his trips, he estimates.
"I thought I had to push them to the point where they're going to come to some kind of agreement with me to fix this," Bourcier says.
That didn't happen.
He kept going through and going through and going through until he owed $202,000, totalling more than 300 violations, which is a lot. As the state wanted to sue him for each individual violation, which would have been a glorious mix of Kafka and Groundhog's Day for the next forever, Bourcier agreed to settle. His attorney got the original $202,000 down to $40,000, plus another approximately $55,000 in fees because the government loves fees, and he now owes only about $96,000.
Which he will pay in $150 monthly installments for the next 54 years. Seriously. He's on the hook until 2067. He'll be 87 by then.
Amazingly, at the end of the day they didn't even arrest him. Hell, in New York they'll straight up throw you in jail for only 25 grand in violations.
Protip: You can literally get an E-Z Pass tag at the toll-booth itself, you pay 30 bucks and then you get 30 bucks on an E-Z Pass tag. Boom, done, it's that simple.
If you want to owe the government nearly $100,000, just get student loans instead.
Photo credit: Lindsay Kinkade