Bail bond industry agrees to new rules

Published 10:20 am Thursday, January 14, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota’s commerce commissioner says “Wild West” tactics by some in the bail bond industry are over.

State regulators have reached an agreement with 21 insurance companies that provide surety bonds to the state’s bail bond industry. The Commerce Department oversees regulation of the industry because it’s a form of insurance.

Commissioner Mike Rothman too many in the industry thought the rules didn’t apply to them. The reports an investigation found bail bond agents were pressuring defendants and their families in courthouses and jails. Some companies offered illegal rebates to customers or paid kickbacks to unlicensed agents.

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Under the new consent decree, companies must charge the approved rates and follow strict rules for documenting payments from customers. They are also prohibited from soliciting business at courthouse or jail property.