The Nation's Most Trusted Bail Bond Agents











To Catch a Fugitive

Friday, May 27, 2011

See the article below that was published by FreakonomicsRadio.com. It discusses Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s history making 6 million dollar bond and what a bounty hunter is really like and the job they actually do. Be sure to listen to the “To Catch a Fugitive” Podcast as well.

After being accused of sexual assault, former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was denied bail because he was considered a flight risk. He was, after all, arrested while boarding a flight to France,  right after the alleged incident. But last week, his attorneys came through. A Manhattan court granted Strauss-Kahn $6 million bail – one of the largest in New York State history. Now he’s under house arrest with 24-hour surveillance. It’s hard to imagine him fleeing but if he somehow did manage to, he wouldn’t only be dodging the police. With a multimillion-dollar bond on the line, Strauss Kahn would also have a bounty hunter on his trail.

If you had to bet on whether the police or a bounty hunter is, on average, more likely to nab a fugitive, Alex Tabarrok, an economist at George Mason University and the Independent Institute, would put his money on the bounty hunter.

TABARROK: The bounty hunters are much more likely to get their man. I like to say that the bounty hunters are the true long arm of the law.

Hired by bail bondsmen, bounty hunters typically earn 10 percent of a bail bond. Seven-figure bonds like Strauss-Kahn’s are rare; most of the time, bounty hunters are recovering bonds that are anywhere from four to six figures. So if someone jumps on a $5,000 bond and a bounty hunter nabs him, he would earn about $500 for that capture. Whereas police earn a salary no matter who they round up, bounty hunters only get paid if they bring back the defendant. This system gives bounty hunters a greater incentive to catch a fugitive, Tabarrok says.

TABARROK: Because if you’re out on commercial bail and you flee, it’s the bail bondsman who’s out the money. The bail bondsman has put up your $5,000 bail, and if you don’t show up, he loses the $5,000. So, this is a classic case of incentives.

Tabarrok and a colleague wrote a paper that shows bounty hunters are 50 percent more likely than police to catch a fugitive. Bob Burton, head of the United States Coalition of Bail Recovery Agents, says this can create some tension between bounty hunters and police.

BURTON: The police have a fifty-fifty love hate relationship with us because we are doing what they do. We get paid more for one arrest than they might make all week. We’re rivals with the detective division of that man’s area. For instance, every time we pop someone in New York City, the NYPD’s detective division, on one hand — ‘Okay, one less case,’ but on the other hand, ‘Why the hell did those bounty hunters get to them before we did?’

Strauss-Kahn’s bondsman said he’s not worried about his client jumping bail. With bounty hunters having a reported 97 percent capture rate, why should he be?

In this week’s podcast, hear Alex Tabarrok explain how bounty hunting works like a business and why Bob Burton thinks “Dog the Bounty Hunter” is “pure television nonsense.”

Click on the following link to hear the "To Catch a Fugitive" podcast.

Original Article:
To Catch A Fugitive
FreakonomicsRadio.com