Ex-LAPD-Cop Turned Bondsman Charged Bail Scam

Written by Tonya Rynerson on February 7, 2010 – 8:22 am -

Edwin Sunmin Lee, 39, retired from the Los Angeles Police Department in April 2005 after he confessed to a felony charge for filing a false police report.  (Not sure how he got his bail license, because you’re supposed to have a clean record.)

LAPD Van Nuys Community Police Station SignageSurprise! – now he is allegedly in trouble once more.  The Hacienda Heights area ex-cop-turned-bail-bondsman has plead not guilty to charges that he illegally solicited bail from inmates in local jails.  County District Attorney’s officials have accused Lee of no less than six felony counts.  The incidents that led to his arrest supposedly took place at the Van Nuys jail on or about July 27, 2008 and Feb. 10, 2009.

Ironically, Lee does not have to be bailed out of jail himself (good thing, because Read more »

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Orange County Jail Charged With Illegal Bail Scams

Written by Greg Rynerson on December 22, 2009 – 8:42 pm -

Orange County JailIt’s called capping — and it’s occurring at the Orange County Jail with alarming frequency.  Capping is the practice of one inmate getting kickbacks from a shady bail bond company once he signs up fellow inmates to use their services.

Here’s how it works:  The inmate connected to the bail bond company offers to make three-way calls for other inmates willing to use their services.  Anyone who isn’t interested is intimidated until he changes his mind.  As reported by the Orange County Register, no less than eight witnesses, all of them arrestees at the jail, recently testified about this illegal practice to both the OC Sheriff’s department and the OC Bail Agents Association.

Each witness was interviewed by private investigator Bill Hunt, a former Sheriff’s Lieutenant currently running for Orange County Sheriff.  Hunt’s subsequent report alleges that some prisoners have bullied others regarding the company they should use for posting their bail.  Hunt also discovered that someone who had access to booking information was passing telephone numbers on to these same bail companies, who then in turn called the prisoners’ family members to pay up.

One woman, Read more »

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Unlicensed Bail Bondsman Lands in Sacramento Jail

Written by Tonya Rynerson on December 7, 2009 – 10:55 am -

Brian Malone touted himself as being a licensed bail bondsman with “20 years of experience.”  But he was not. He then so boldly created a big ad with a photo of himself and posted it directly inside of the Sacramento County Jail to lure unknowing customers… the inmates themselves.  And at least 5 of them took his bait and paid him for bail that did not get posted.

Besides the fact that he’s been operating as a bondsman without a license, this “bogus bail bondsman” is allegedly a criminal himself; having previously been charged with numerous felonies which include, altering or falsifying government documents.  (A bail bondsman in California must be licensed by the California Department of Insurance. Additionally, convicted felons are not eligible to be bail bondsmen.)

Malone perpetrated this right in the jail, directly under the watch of Read more »

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Bondsman Under Investigation

Written by Tonya Rynerson on October 29, 2009 – 7:03 am -

First fraudulently obtaining bail bonds, now lying to the police and worse: J.C. Mullins, Jr., of Abingdon Bail Bonds, reportedly engaged four thugs, one of whom he had bailed out, to find one a “skip” — someone who failed to appear in court on a bail bond.

According to the Bristol Harold Currier, three people are charged with abduction, robbery, impersonating a law enforcement officer, conspiracy and sexual battery and a fourth is charged as an accessory after they posed as drug enforcement agents and pulled a woman from her car, hand-cuffed her, strip searched her and turned her over to Mullins. This is behavior that reputable bounty hunters wouldn’t engage in.

As we reported back in July, Mullins Read more »

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Is the Bail Industry Bailing Out?

Written by Tonya Rynerson on October 22, 2009 – 12:19 pm -

Bad economic news, apparently Bondsmen Are Bailing Out, at least according to the Indianapolis Star:

these days, too many clients are asking for bail without the required collateral, such as a home or a car, diminishing bail bondsmen’s customer base. And not helping matters is a new policy by Marion County judges setting less expensive cash bonds for minor offenses…

 

Couple the economic situation with other “solutions” being offered in terms of bail. I hear talk of temporily lowering the bail schedule to allow more people in California to post bail. Huh? The bail schedule is set Read more »

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Mel Gibson’s Arrest Sparks Media Leak Debate

Written by 888BailBond Bondsman on October 16, 2009 – 9:02 am -

Mel GibsonIn more celebrity arrest news, Mel Gibson’s conviction for drunk driving was finally expunged this week.  He has met the requirements of his probation after his 2006 drunk driving arrest.

However, in an attempt to uncover what some are saying was a media leak from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, authorities have discovered two calls were made to Harvey Levin of TMZ the exact day of Gibson’s arrest. 

One of the arresting Sheriff Deputies, James Mee stated he did nothing wrong and declined to comment any further. But phone records Read more »

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Trutanich Addresses Bail Bondsmen: Capping & Medical Marijuana

Written by Tonya Rynerson on October 15, 2009 – 10:38 am -

Carmen Trutanich with wife Noreen

In the first address to Los Angeles bail bondsmen since his election to City Attorney, Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich told a group assembled Sunday evening that the office he inherrited was “broken“. He added, “I was elected to clean up the office and I will.”

Trutanich gave only a brief prelude to what bondsmen would hear more about in the days to come at the Annual Meeting of the California Bail Agents Association (CBAA): “We are arresting bail agents for capping,” Trutanich told us.

Interestingly, he gave no real details to something of great importance to the California bail industry. Unethical bail agents operating illegally is a serious problem to those of us who run a clean business. I, for one, was very interested in the details.

He went on to Read more »

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Unethical Bail Bondsmen Create Wait For Arrest Information

Written by 888BailBond Bondsman on September 10, 2009 – 11:57 pm -

Most every county jail has a website, including the Orange County Jail. The websites provide all kinds of information, including inmate information and can be used by anyone who has access to a computer. For Lake County, Sheriff’s are now delaying the posted information by 2 days. Their reasons for delaying the information is that they feel that bail bondsmen are obtaining information about recently booked inmates and heading to the jail to illegally solicit bail business, which is a misdemeanor offense.

Bail bondsmen are believed to be lying to the jailers, indicating Read more »

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How To Become A California Bail Bondsman

Written by 888BailBond Bondsman on August 18, 2009 – 6:46 am -

Yesterday I wrote about what to expect if you become a California bail bondsman. If you got through that and you’re back for more, you’re ready for the steps in obtaining your bail license. Now that I completed my pre-licensing class, I’m the expert here (ha ha)!

So, without further fan fare, here are the necessary steps to becoming a licenced bail bondsman in California:

  1. You must have lived in California for least 2 years and be prepared to provide proof.
  2. You must be 18 years old or older.
  3. You need a clean record. Kind of an obvious one since you are working within the legal system, but many people don’t realize that to be a bail bondsman, you must have no felony convictions on your record. (Unlike the NFL which employs many people without clean records.) Read more »

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Bail Bonds Case To Go To Special Prosecutor

Written by Tonya Rynerson on August 4, 2009 – 9:45 am -

I don’t know how other industries see special investigations, but any news of bondsmen being potentially prosecuted is good news in my book. Too often, we “hear” there are issues in the bail industry, but proving the wrong-doings can be difficult at best.

Last month, we reported on one unethical bondsman and his magistrate son in Virginia who teamed up to allow the bondsman to write additional bail bonds. Now, a Virginia State Police Investigator has given the case to  the county’s Commonwealth Attorney Dennis Godfrey. Godfrey, noting that he works regularly with the office in question, plans to pass the case to an outside prosecutor.

Hats off, again, to investigative reporter Michael Owens with the Bristol Herald Courier for uncovering this bail fraud.

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