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DOJ collects $1.8 billion in corporate fines

The federal government collected more than $1.8 billion in penalties in 2014 from companies accused of cheating consumers, the Obama administration announced Thursday.

This is one of the biggest annual collections from the Justice Department’s antitrust division in history.

“The size of these penalties is an unfortunate reminder of the powerful temptation to cheat the American consumer and profit from collusion,” said Bill Baer, assistant attorney general for the antitrust division. “We remain committed to ensuring that corporations and individuals who collude face serious consequences for their crimes.”

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The Justice Department collected penalties of more than $100 million each from five separate companies.

Bridgestone Corp. paid $425 million to settle what was the fourth-largest criminal fine ever issued by the antitrust division, according to the DOJ.

Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd. paid $195 million, Mitsubishi Electric Corp. paid $190 million, Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. paid $120 million, and JTEKT Corp. paid $103 million.

The DOJ also collected more than $560 million in fines stemming from the antitrust division's investigation into Libor interest rates.

Additionally, 21 corporate executives received jail terms for these crimes, the department announced.