By RICK HAYES email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — An outside collection agency has captured another $29,000 for Jefferson County.
Pioneer, a Sallie Mae company, was hired by the county several months ago to go after delinquent fines and fees from 2007 and beyond for felonies, misdemeanors and DUI’s.
Late last week, Pioneer account representative Ryan Hansen presented Circuit Clerk John Scott and State’s Attorney Doug Hoffman with a check for $29,801 — coming from one case — a 2001 felony. Of that amount, $28,000 was in the form of restitution to a local business.
“Pioneer is pleased to partner with Jefferson County so these revenues that might have gone uncollected can now be used to ensure important public service continues,” said Hansen.
“It is good to collect funds and dispose them to the county and state and help in their financial crisis, but it’s very fulfilling to disperse restitution to the victim of crimes,” said Scott.
Hansen collects debts in over half of Illinois’ counties. He said the company has a good track record, especially in cases that or seven years old or newer.
“This is zero cost to the county and its taxpayers and addresses the issues of collecting delinquent fines and fees in which John’s office doesn’t have the capacity to address,” said Hoffman.
“When me and John took the initiative to turn the older cases over to the collection at no cost to the taxpayers we were hopeful that our county would see positive results. I am pleased so far that has proven to be true, especially for victims of crimes.”
When the program began in June 2012 the county asked Pioneer to collect old traffic ticket debts. The program was then expanded to include the felonies, misdemeanors and DUI’s.
In just 18 months, Pioneer has now collected just under $170,000 for the county.