The Illinois attorney general has widened an investigation into drivers being overcharged for old parking tickets after a warning that the number of victims and affected Chicago suburbs are far higher than previously reported, reports the Chicago Tribune. The state probe follows a Tribune investigation revealing that the past-due balances on more than 130 old parking tickets, most of them from Blue Island, had been increased without explanation by a collection firm, Municipal Collection Services of Palos Heights.
Records show that firm had taken over day-to-day collections from a rival firm. Now that rival firm, Receivables Management, has told the attorney general that, in Blue Island alone, its review found more than 850 mistakes that led to nearly $95,000 in combined overcharges. And it cautioned that errors have been reported by drivers with old tickets in about two dozen suburbs. Towns have long worked with private collection firms to collect overdue fines, with the firms getting a cut of the payments.