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Oct 21st
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New Jersey Playing Ball With Collection Agencies

courthouse_optBY GINA G. SCALA

Share on Facebook! Maybe it’s a sign of the economic climate or maybe it’s been a long time coming, but New Jersey is joining a growing list of state’s working with private collection agencies to collect unpaid court debts.

A measure approved in 2010 grants courts the ability to work with collection agencies, and 17 towns have active programs, Winnie Comfort, communication director for New Jersey’s Administrative Office of Courts, said. Dozens of other municipalities are in the application process, she said.

There are 511,301 eligible cases; totaling more than $246 million, Comfort said. To qualify, all previous attempts to collect must have been exhausted; including arrest warrants; suspending or revoking a driver’s license or suspending vehicle registration, she said.

In some cases, the courts have attempted to collect debts for 20 years, but have been unable to do so, Comfort said.

A person can fight the debt by contacting the court that issued it and resolving it administratively, she said. If that doesn’t work, the individual has the option of taking it to court.

“I would never say it’s impossible to make a mistake,’’ Comfort said.

Other states looking to debt collection are Arizona, California, Florida and Oregon. Arizona courts raked in more than $4.5 million in 2012, Jennifer Liewer, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Supreme Court’s Administrative Office of the Courts, said.

“It’s been very successful,” Liewer said.

The National Motorists Association, however, views the growing number of state’s traveling this route as a desperate move to make money.

“Cities and municipalities are just starving for income from any source they can get it,” John Bowman, communication director for the association said. “Motorists have always been a popular source” to tap for money.

Comments (1)
1 Saturday, 29 June 2013 09:47
Peter J Schiessl
First they have to clean out the board that has the biggest crooks in the business on it.

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