With another blockbuster corporate prosecution in the works, this past week Reuters ran a story on the rise in corporate fines over the past decade. They cited to my data and prepared a chart depicting some of it (above). But is this steady rise in federal corporate fines powerful evidence of tougher corporate prosecutions? In "Too Big to Jail" I present that data but then describe how it is not what it seems. The approximately 650% percent rise in corporate fines is striking. Billion dollar fines, once unprecedented, are imposed more regularly, though not often. However, that sweeping rise in fines is mostly due to a handful of blockbuster cases each year. Even in those remarkable cases, much of the money consists in payments to victims or to regulators and not fines strictly speaking. And the fines themselves are often far less than they could have been under the Sentencing Guidelines. But for the full story that lies behind the numbers you will have to wait for the book, which comes out in October.