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PT THE AUDITOR Black Market Validations

more devious and involves the parker, often people who aren’t parkers, and a third party, who is not connected to the parking operation.

T The location is a shopping center

HIS IS A DIFFERENT ONE – Black MarketValidations. No, it’s not the kind where someone calls a printer and prints their own stamps, or makes their own rubber stamp. This is much

ets with a very small “in” time, had an attached store receipt of a large volume of goods. I researched the time an average shopper takes to do a week’s shopping and found that it was between 45minutes and an hour. There were a number of tickets where the parker had been

with a large food market. The market is high volume and has a deal in its lease that shoppers buying more than $50 in merchandise would receive 3 hours of free parking. So far so good. The problem with all these programs is how to ensure that the cashier properly validates the ticket. In this case, the parking cashier asks for the receipt from the store, tears off a portion that shows the amount spent, and attached it to the ticket. Fair enough. My audit shows that in a rather large number of cases, tick-

There is also the issue that the box boys could be in cahoots with the cashiers.

“in” for 15minutes but had a receipt attached for $100 ormore. I would really have liked to see that person running through the store. And there were other anomalies, including many tickets that had an “out” time before the “payment” time on the receipt. Then I began towatch the area in

front of the store. I would see the box boys (and girls) ask the shoppers for their receipts. (These were people who walked to the store, the majority

of shoppers, and didn’t need the receipts for parking.) Many would just hand them over – I didn’t know what story the box boys gave to the shoppers but it could have been something as simple as collecting them for a contest at school. They would then chat with other patrons in the shopping center,who did not use the foodmarket, ask them if they parked in the garage, and if so, sell them the receipt for a few dollars. The receipt was worth up to 3 hours of free parking,which could be as much as $15. If onewent to amovie, for instance, and spent two and a half hours, the receipt from the food store would pay for their coke and popcorn. There is also the issue that the box

boys could be in cahoots with the cashiers. They would provide the receipts to the cashiers and then the cashiers would display the total due, collect it, and then cancel the transac- tion and rerun it with the validation, keeping the difference. They would meet up later and split their lucre. In a number of cases, I found store

receipts that had been rung up for some amount over $50, then had the transac- tions zeroed out. In this case, the store cashier was creating receipts to be used in the scam. There were many people involved

in this theft: the box boy, store cashiers, parkers, non parkers, and perhaps the parking cashiers. One might ask: Why do you care?

“Can I interest you in fake Rolexes, pirated DVDs or validated parking receipts?” 20 NOVEMBER 2010 • PARKING TODAY •

So a few tickets get validated. How much are you losing. I audited one month and took only the tickets that were obvious frauds ($800 receipt for a car in 15 minutes, $50 receipt that was cancelled and then rerung for zero dol-

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