Australian police are investigating 240 people who have blamed a dead man for driving their cars when they were cited for traffic violations. Officials think this is part of a widespread pattern of fraud wherein motorists are blaming the same dead guy or somebody from out of state to try to get out of fines.

"These offences amount to fraud and, if proven, those involved could face stiff penalties including imprisonment," New South Wales Police Superintendent Daryl Donnolly was quoted as saying in a statement released Saturday.

This whole investigation came about after a prominent retired Federal Court judge got out of a speeding ticket by claiming somebody else was driving his vehicle at the time. Turned out the person he named was a dead woman and his case is still under review for fraud or perjury charges.

His case opened up the books and had officials searching for others who might have tried similar tactics. They uncovered nearly 700,000 people in the past three years who had claimed somebody else was driving their cars at the time of the offense. So far, they have found that the same man was named on several hundred citations, even though he died five years ago. Not quite a Ghost Rider story, but we are fans, and couldn't resist slipping in an image.

[Source: Reuters]