In Houston’s multimillion-dollar bail bond business, the 42 employees of A-Way-Out Bail Bonds Co. use cutting-edge technology to keep track of more than 1,000 clients from drunken drivers to international jewel thieves, who along with their families have paid cash and pledged cars, homes and ranches to get out of jail on bond, says the Houston Chronicle. When suspects jump bail and things go wrong, it’s often up to 80 licensed bail bondsmen to haul them back in or make it right for taxpayers for whom bond business brings $4 million to $5 million annually.
Last year, $1.9 million was paid late, some of which was 10 years overdue, and millions more still are owed. A Chronicle review shows 500 current and former bond companies and individuals still owe taxpayers more than $26 million in default judgments, some dating back decades. On any given day, 13,000 accused criminals are out on bail in county courts with bond companies holding guarantees worth $125 million or more. That means bondsmen pledged money and assets as insurance that suspects will show for their day in court. About 5 percent of the clients fail to show.