The Health Department levied $4.8 million in fines against vendors last year but has only collected $1.2 million; according to the Post, the shortfall is partially due to vendors who simply apply for new licenses instead of paying the fines. Vendors pay just $60 for a yearly license and $200 every two years for an identification number, making the ruse a significant money saver when it works. It's a problem the DOH has been battling for years, and despite steps to fix it, the issue persists.

Recently, vendor Mohammed Elshamy allegedly owed $47,480 for unpaid violations but instead filed for a new license, according to the agency. "Vendors have tried to get a license under a new name rather than fix violations or pay accumulated fines, and detecting this type of fraud is difficult," explains the DOH. Both the DOH and the NYPD are currently chasing an elusive fraudster who created multiple identities to operate his hot dog cart and avoid paying the $330,000 in unpaid fines, including the four times his license was revoked.


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