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Payouts To Crime Victims Up 36 Percent

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Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Payouts from the Oklahoma Crime Victims Compensation Fund increased by about 36 percent this year and cleared the $5 million mark.

The total payout for 2008 was just over $5 million, compared with nearly $3.7 million last year and around $3.9 million each of the previous two years.

The fund helps victims of crimes pay for medical bills, counseling, funeral costs and lost wages. It is funded primarily through fines and penalties assessed by Oklahoma courts.

A three-member board meets monthly to decide claims for compensation of $10,000 or more. The board's staff handles smaller claims.

Crime victims can even receive assistance if there is no arrest in their case. Board member David Hartwell says there must only be enough evidence to convince the board that a person is a legitimate crime victim.

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