PHILADELPHIA – Court officials in Philadelphia say people who are released on bail but don't show up for their trials owe the city more than $1 billion.
Court officials compiled their first ever tally of bail jumpers in the city at the request of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Before the newspaper raised the issue, the magnitude of the problem was unknown. Court officials initially told the Inquirer that only $2 million was owed.
A criminal defendant in Philadelphia is usually freed after paying 10 percent of the bail. Defendants who show up for trial get that money back, minus a small fee.
People who don't show up forfeit the 10 percent and owe the remaining 90 percent, but the city has made little effort to collect that money.