Who hasn't dreamed of collecting America's $25 million reward for catching Osama bin Laden? (And don't forget you'd get $1 million from Bruce Willis, too.) Well don't be too quick to hop a flight to Afghanistan, because the US government isn't always eager to pay, even when the wantee is caught and convicted.

John says an FBI agent promised a big reward if he helped the FBI capture Kopp.

"He promised me that he will come down by airplane and he will carry [an] attaché with a million dollars," recalls John. ...

After Kopp's arrest in March 2001, the FBI immediately paid John $50,000. After Kopp pleaded guilty in 2003, John tried to collect the rest of his money, hounding federal officials, taping hundreds of hours of calls to them, even writing then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to complain the government was "dragging its heels." He says he got no response. ...

In December 2003, nine months after Kopp's conviction, the FBI paid John $100,000 more. Last summer, on June 30, 2004, days after John began talking to NBC News and 15 months after the conviction, the Justice Department finally paid $500,000 more.

Why did it take so long?

Senior U.S. law enforcement officials say the FBI misplaced key documents and the Justice Department money got bogged down in red tape. But they argue John eventually was paid handsomely — $650,000.

However, John claims he's still owed hundreds of thousands of dollars by Canada and cautions prospective tipsters to get everything in writing.

So don't start spending just because you've got Osama tied to the back of your camel, and remember that in most cases you can't sue the government for reward money.

(HT: GeekPress.)

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