Tax refunds are bait for those wanted in Arundel

Money’s a good motivator, Anne Arundel County Sheriff Bateman said Friday.

A state law that just took effect has the Comptroller's Office withholding Maryland tax refunds of residents of Anne Arundel County or people who have an outstanding warrant in the county. In the first week, 110 letters were mailed, and 10 people turned themselves in or otherwise cleared up their warrant situation, the sheriff said.

"It’s easy fishing,” said Bateman,  who had approached Comptroller Peter Franchot with the idea. The sheriff said these are people his deputies now don’t have to spend days chasing down.

Based on the first 15 letters,  the open warrants were for probation violations and failure to appear in court on both misdemeanors and felonies, he said.

The law was enacted last year as a one-year pilot program. Sen. John Astle, an Anne Arundel Democrat,  has submitted a bill to extend it to six years.

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