The Knox County (Tenn.) Commission tentatively approved a proposal Monday to hire Ohio-based collection agency Capital Recovery Systems to help it pursue a combined $160 million that offenders owe in fines, fees and court costs.

Knox County Criminal Court Clerk Mike Hammond told officials that some of the debt dates back as far as 45 years. Capital Recovery, he said, will tack on a 25% fee but the company won’t be paid for an account until the debt is collected in full. 

Capital Recovery, which focuses on courts and has an estimated 450 clients, went through a competitive bidding process. Hammond said the company has a roughly 30% average collection rate.

The commission is expected to approve the contract next Monday. Hammond called the plans a “great opportunity” for Knox County and said he’s hopeful it will bring a substantial amount of additional, otherwise lost, revenue. 

Knox County is the third-largest county in Tennessee with 432,226 residents, according to the 2010 census. The county seat is Knoxville.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.