By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Thirteen able-bodied people, parking for free in Downtown Boston, were caught by the State Inspector General’s Office for using disabled persons’ placards that they shouldn’t have.

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The people busted include an MGH employee, using her mother in law’s placard, a man with both his mother’s and dead father’s placards, and even the employee of a wealth management company caught using the placard of a dead priest.

Why would people do this? It’s worth a lot of money to them. With a placard, you don’t have to pay the meters, and you can park all day for free.

State Inspector General Glenn Cunha says the abuse of disabled persons placards is a serious problem, especially in Downtown Boston.

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“Parents are dead or relatives are dead, people have moved out of state, and they continue to use these placards like it’s a parking pass or a parking permit,” explains Cunha. “If you go downtown, you see it everywhere. Metered parking spaces taken up all day by cars with disabled persons placards.”

Most placards are legitimate, but those that aren’t mean big savings for drivers: up to six thousand a year by avoiding expensive garages. “Individuals who are disabled and legitimately have a placard, they come down, they can’t find a place to park,” Cunha says.

The current penalties for misuse of a disabled persons placard is a $500 fine and a 30-day loss of your driver’s license.

The Inspector General is recommending new rules and laws to crack down on placard abuse.

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