KNOX City Council residents owe more money to the Sheriff that any other municipality in the east although Monash and Yarra Ranges residents are not far behind.

Knox at $50.14m, owes almost $5m more than Monash but Monash has 21,007 defendants compared to Knox’s 14,403 defendants.

The next closest municipality was Yarra Ranges with 13,428 defendants followed by Maroondah (10,403), Whitehorse (10,223) and Manningham (9533). Whitehorse residents owed the least — $18,551,809.

Victoria Sheriff Brendan Facey revealed the new figures to show his office is taking sterner action against serial fine evaders.

The release of the figures comes less than two weeks after the mother of an autistic child who clocked up $342,000 in unpaid fines avoided jail and had her debt slashed to $16,000 in court.

SHOULD SERIAL OFFENDERS GO TO JAIL? TELL US BELOW

Statistics from the 2013-14 financial year show an increase of more than 60 per cent in the number of people arrested over unpaid fines.

“Unfortunately some people are still not getting the message that you cannot hide from your unpaid fines,” Mr Facey said.

The annual figures show 3354 people were arrested in the 12 months to 30 June, up from 2086 in the previous 12 months.

“This action is typically taken against people who are serially evading their fines, racking up tolling, speeding and parking infringements at the cost of the public,” Mr Facey said.

People failing to pay their fines face serious sanctions including having their cars clamped, assets

seized or their drivers licence suspended.

The Sheriff’s Office finalised nearly 420,000 warrants in the 2013-14 financial year, an increase of nearly 25 per cent.

Despite the action and repeated warnings of the consequences, the value of outstanding warrants in the last year has grown from $1.316 billion to $1.533 billion.

“It is frustrating that people are not getting the message that paying your fines is not optional,” Mr Facey said.

JULIAN KENNEDY
MANNINGHAM LEADER
OCTOBER 13, 2014 5:05PM

Original Story.