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Jury Duty Scam Alert: Failure to Appear Fines

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

In various parts of the United States, including the District of Maryland, citizens are being targeted by phone calls threatening them with prosecution for failure to comply with jury service in federal court. The calling agency may identify itself as the “Federal Warrant Service” or some other fictitious federal law enforcement agency. The caller will state that an arrest warrant has been issued for failure to appear in court and then give the person the option of paying a fine of $500 to avoid arrest. Typically, the caller will ask the person to obtain a “green dot” debit card.

These phone calls are fraudulent and have no connection to either the United States District Court or to the United States Marshals Service.

Neither this Court nor any other law enforcement agency will ever call someone to request the payment of a fine over the telephone for failure to appear for jury duty. Typically, jurors who miss jury duty will be contacted by the Clerk’s Office and may, in certain circumstances, be ordered to appear in court before a judge. Any fine for failure to appear for jury duty will be imposed by a judge during an open session of court, and the summoned juror will be given the opportunity to explain the failure to appear.

If anyone is contacted or has been contacted by someone requesting such payments, please do not make the payment and instead immediately contact the United States Marshals Service at 410-962-2220. For questions about jury service, including confirming whether you have been summoned for jury service, please contact the Clerk’s Office at 410-962-3090.