Federal Fines go Unpaid; White Collar Criminals the Most Delinquent:
The federal government is owed $35 billion in fines from criminals and from civil cases, the majority of which comes from white collar criminals, who only pay 7 percent of restitution. According to the Associated Press, this amount is five times higher then it was a decade ago. Much of the uncollected money comes from violations of federal regulations, such as violations of mine safety laws. In most cases the federal government has waived the fines in favor of compliance, such as in the case of violations at nuclear facilities throughout the country. Anti-nuclear activist Greg Mello calls this, “kind of an exercise in absurdity.” The Government Accountability Office, an independent investigative office, has warned that the failure to enforce penalties and fines will undermine the effectiveness of enforcement agencies. Of course, this 2004 Denver Post story may shed some light on why the federal government is failing to take punitive action against violators.