Many years ago I read in an article like this one about expats trying to leave the United Arab Emirates quickly whenever their job contract was cancelled. The reasons behind this behavior was that:
- Large purchases (automobiles and houses) and rentals made in those countries typically involved paying in advance with a stack of post-dated checks, and
- Finding the next job was generally not obvious, and
- Writing checks that bounced could lead to a prison term
Also the prison terms in UAE could often last until the prisoner pays off the debt, and since it's difficult to have an income in prison, this could translate to a very long time period.
On the other hand, judging from this other article it seems that the law has changed in UAE and people no longer get imprisoned for bouncing checks.
Now I read this article about a person who had ended up in prison in the USA.
On Christmas Eve 2013, the Bear River City man incurred an ambulance bill. Tremonton City won a justice court small claims judgment against Iverson in September 2014 that compelled him to pay the city $2,376.92.
He never paid the bill and ignored repeated court orders to appear, court records show. That led to a county sheriff’s deputy, serving a $350 bench warrant issued by the justice court on Dec. 29, 2015, arresting him on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 23.
I had not heard of people being imprisoned in the USA for unpaid debts before. My impression was that unpaid debt is typically sold to collection agencies who then pester the individual until s/he pays the debt.
Like there is this guy who wrote a book about how to make money collecting judgements. In the book he explains that they can be from cases such as when a landlord has taken someone to court for not paying the rent, and the court decrees that the tenant has to pay. The book does not mention that the tenants can end up in prison for failure to pay (if that was the case it would be useful for a collector to know).
So the question I wanted to ask regarding debt in the USA:
What factors can cause a person to end up in prison for a debt? Is it the type of the debt, the amount, the type of the company/organization the debt is owned to, a combination of these or something else?