Bail companies accused of illegal overcharges in New Orleans - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Bail companies accused of illegal overcharges in New Orleans

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A watchdog group claims New Orleans bail companies routinely charge illegally excessive premiums for people to get released from the city's jail.

A complaint filed Thursday by the Southern Poverty Law Center estimates New Orleans bail companies collectively have overcharged up to 50,000 people by roughly $5 million over the past 12 years.

The law center's complaint urges the Louisiana Department of Insurance to investigate and suspend or revoke the licenses of any companies that don't refund illegally collected premiums.

The Alabama-based center says it found at least 21 bail companies that customarily charge criminal defendants a premium of 13 percent of the face value of a bond set by a judge. The complaint says that rate is 1 percent higher than the maximum allowed under state law.

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