After reading our Unscrupulous Bondsmen post, I had an email comment from a friend, Gary, complimenting us on the article. He also had this to say:
I am always curious who posts the big bonds $1mm – $10mm for the wealthy or notorious people that are of flight risk. I guess Bernie Madoff posted his own bail for $10 mm (NY / Federal court lets you post property in lieu of cash ??).
I assume that Unscrupulous + Bail = Madoff. The question got me thinking how much there really is to know about bail and how it can probably stir up a lot of questions for the professional and the lay person alike.
As to who posts those very large bail bonds of $1 million to $10 million: in some regards any bondsman can post a bond like that (some might say if they’re lucky). In reality, there are only a handful of bondsmen who will have the clientele and the expertise to put the bond together. Bonds of that size are going to be collateralized with real property (real estate) that has equity equally 150% of the bail. (Hard to get in this climate.)
Regarding property in lieu of cash, California also allows for property bail. The process is very similar to a real estate transaction and has the stress level and the paperwork involved in the sale of a home, needing appraisal and title searches for example. Again, there must be equity in the property or properties being pledged against the bond equaling 150% of the bail.
Gary’s question leads me to one other thought and that is about, what is called in California, a 1275 hearing. This hearing before a judge takes place after bail has been set and before bail can be posted. The purpose of a 1275 hearing is to find out where the funds being used to post bail were obtained, basically ensuring that it is “clean” money and not money obtained illegally or potentially illegally. I do wonder how Madoff could have passed that.
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