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Bail Bond Professionals
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As an ExpertBail member we strongly support changing the way the public views our industry. The stereotypes portrayed in television and films could not be farther from the truth about bail bondsmen, the types of people we help and how we conduct business on a day-to-day basis. ExpertBail is at the forefront of this “rebranding” effort and Bail Bond Professionals is extremely proud to be associated with this exclusive group of the finest bail agents across the country.
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Inmate “Capping”,  The Dirty Little Secret Inside Our Jails.
 
There are a few ways to build a bail bond business in Orange County, but none easier or cheaper than hiring inmates inside the jail to refer you fresh customers every day. “Capping” , as it’s known, has been going on inside every jail in California for decades and the illegal activity shows no signs of slowing down.
 
Under California Penal Code 160(a)[1], it is illegal for inmates inside of county jails to solicit or recommend any bail bond agency to any other inmates. The bail bond business is regulated by the California Department of Insurance (DOI) and soliciting is strictly prohibited inside of courts or jails because of inherent conflicts of interest and consumer abuse that exists.
 
The “capping” scam goes like this:  You’ve been arrested and are taken to the Orange County Jail in Santa Ana. You’re going through the beginning stages of the booking process in what is known as “The Loop” at the IRC (Intake release Center).  Its’ here you get fingerprinted, photographed and a background check is made.  You’re eventually placed into a cell with one or several other inmates where there are payphones to make calls to family, friends, a bail bondsman or anybody else that might be able to help. A curious inmate approaches you and begins talking and asking questions. What begins as an innocent conversation leads to questions about your background,  the reason for your arrest and what your bail amount is. This eventually leads to; “Hey, let me recommend a bail bondsman that can get you out now! Here is his phone number.”  What you don’t realize is this unassuming cellmate of yours is paid by the bondsman to refer them business. Oftentimes these paid cappers use strong-arm tactics and threats if you don’t take their suggestion. Not surprising considering they’re paid based on your decision to call the favored bondsman.  You’ve never been in this situation before, you’re scared and you’ve got only one thought -  GET OUT NOW! You reluctantly make the call and arrange for bail with one of these fraudulent bail businesses.  
 
Despite efforts to gain control of this widespread problem by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, capping remains the single best source of revenue generation for fraudulent bail businesses.  Recent data tells us 45% or more of all bail bonds written in Orange County are generated through inmate “Capping” and/or illegal referrals.   
 
Victims of this crime are numerous and varied; The defendant, defendant’s family or friends, the entire criminal justice system and other bail agencies trying to legally compete.  
 
It should be of no surprise that a company using illegal capping to generate business will take a clients money then surrender them right back into custody even though they are making all scheduled court appearances. Bail bond contracts, or Indemnity Agreements as they are known, gives the issuing company extraordinary authority over their clients freedom. These shady companies often impose unnecessary conditions and extort additional money at every opportunity. These are common occurrences in Orange County and there is little oversight, no refunds and no recourse to the victims.  
 
As a select few rouge bail agencies continue to abuse the bail bond business, it’s also the courts and tax payers that suffer the consequence. Unpaid Summary Judgments (money owed to the court because of a failure to appear) go unpaid and defendants retuned back into custody prematurely cost taxpayers millions every year.
 
The enforcement of laws regulating bail in California are virtually non- existent, which creates fertile ground for those wanting to pray on innocent victims and abuse the system.  The DOI relies on local and state law enforcement to file and convict bail businesses before taking any action against them, such as revoking bail licenses or shutting businesses down.
This problem has persisted for many years across the entire state but receives little or no attention. 
 
So it’s left to local law enforcement, namely the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, to come up with new and innovative ways of preventing capping inside the jail’s.  I believe it’s not an impossible task and only takes a commitment, effort and willingness to think outside the box by Sheriff Hutchins to prevent the scammers from scamming inside our local jails.  
 
About the author: Jason Meyerson is the owner and operator of Bail Bond Professionals in Tustin since 1999. He is the current Vice President of Orange County Bail Agents Associaton and strong advocate for honesty and integrity in the bail bond business.  www.orangecounty-bailbonds.com

(a) No bail licensee may employ, engage, solicit, pay, or promise any payment, compensation, consideration or thing of value to any person incarcerated in any prison, jail, or other place of detention for the purpose of that person soliciting bail on behalf of the licensee. A violation of this section is a misdemeanor

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More defendants out on bail = fewer out-of-state fugitives. It’s that simple.

5 REASONS BIGGER IS NOT BETTER WHEN IT COMES TO BAIL BONDS:

The bail bond business has been functioning well in the U.S. for several hundred years. Why? Because it’s the most common sense way of having defendants released from custody pending their trial. It costs counties and tax payers nothing and it holds the defendant accountable to the state, their families and the bondsman. 

Bail businesses have historically been operated by small business owners or “mom & pop” shops.  This has worked well for decades because these owners have vested interest in their communities and the people they serve. They build strong relationships with each customer, get involved with the process and hold the defendant accountable. It’s traditionally been a very personal and friendly one-on-one transaction, but, like many other businesses today, multi-chain corporate operators have stepped into the industry.   

For larger, high-volume operators it’s about the money, plain and simple. They spend a small fortune on television and radio advertising to get your attention but are not equipted serve you the way a good small operator can. Below are five good reasons to select a small bail business over a multi-chain operation:

1. Superior support. Things happen while out on bail; Court dates get mixed up, cases are filed late and judges sometimes change the rules. Your bondsman has to always be personally available to handle your emergency situations. Often times, without notice, the bail bondsman must race to court to prevent you from being taken into custody….. even when it’s just a mix up by the court! The last thing you need is an inexperience employee or the run-a-round from a stern-headed supervisor. From a small business expect direct and immediate service after just one quick phone call.   

2. Availability & Quicker service. The owner(s) are always directly and personally available to talk with you about any issues that arise. You’ll get straight answers, not an answering service or lip service from people you’ve never met before. Much of the bail process can be done via email and/or fax which allows for quicker release times, something larger businesses generally don’t offer. 

3. Trust. You won’t be treated like a number. It’s a much more personal and reassuring experience working with one person and you will come to rely on them whenever their needed. This gives you much needed peace-of-mind while out on bail. 
 
4. Flexibility. Small operators have lower overhead costs and fewer clients so being more flexible with each client is always easier. There are no large monthly advertising and payroll expenses to cover so flexibility is a major advantage. They work to understand your financial situation and propose a plan that works best for you.  

5. Freedom. You may not be aware but the bail agency you choose has complete control of the defendants’  freedom. They can be surrendered back into custody at any time.  Many agencies require GPS monitoring or restrictions on the defendants travel. This is because they view them as a statistical risk and don’t fully trust they will appear in court.  After fifteen years of operation we have never required a client to wear a GPS device. 

The bail bond industry is an important part of the criminal justice system and has been crucial in creating safe and healthy communities. Choosing a professional small bail business to have your loved one released will assure a better overall bail experience. 

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New Orange County Sheriff Website

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has a new content filled website that can be extremely helpful to those seeking information and assistance from Orange County’s finest. The site includes topics ranging from how to file a police report to tips for protecting your family, locating an inmate at the Orange County Jail, employment opportunities, recent news and events and much, much more. I’ve provided links to many of the pages that I think might be useful to you.

Home Page: http://ocsd.org/

FAQ: http://ocsd.org/divisions/custody/jails/faq#1802

Inmate Locator: http://ws.ocsd.org/Whoisinjail/Search.aspx

Jail Hours: http://ocsd.org/divisions/custody/jails/hours

Posting Cash: http://ocsd.org/divisions/custody/jails/cashier

Staying Safe: http://ocsd.org/about/info/safe/

Victim Referral Service: http://ocsd.org/about/info/referral/#domestic

OCSD Jobs: http://ocsd.org/join/

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Seven years and still out on bail!?

The testimonial below demonstrates why choosing the right bail agent is so import and why professionalism, honesty and integrity outweigh the perceived benefit of illegal discounts offered by inexperienced and dishonest bail agents.  

“It’s been 6 years since my family and I were led to Jason. I have been out on bail for over 6 years. Jason has been a man of his word and kept my bond. My case has already been through trial and is awaiting a retrial, if I had picked another bail bonds company I would have been charged a yearly fee that would have put my family in financial ruins. I can’t express to anyone who is looking for a bail bond person, how great Jason has been, a real God send!!!!. I’m so grateful for Jason’s hands-on help. To anyone who is looking for a bail bonds company without hesitation use Jason, he can do the impossible. Thank you Jason for your help and understanding.”

--Shaine Lavoie 

If you make the choice to simply shop the lowest price for bail, you are bound to find a desperate agency willing to discount illegally to get your business. But buyers beware! The odds are good you will select a company where service and honesty are not exactly their priority. 

Read how a 6% or 7% rate may end up being 12%, 14%, 21% or more later on. 

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The Federal Bail Bond System

There is much confusion surrounding bail in the federal criminal justice system and very few have the knowledge and background to assist you, or even explain it clearly.  Unlike state court, it’s not a simple process of having a local bail agent run to the jail to have a loved one released. There are several possibilities for bail in federal court and most take a few days or even weeks to submit.  Determination for bail is always made by the Judge or Magistrate handling the case. Below is a brief explanation of the types of bail a defendant may be granted in federal criminal case.  

Appearance Bond (Affidavit of Surety - no justification)

This is the simplest form of bail in the federal court system. It is nothing more than having a friend or family member sign a form (CR-04 form, “affidavit of Surety (no justification)) which personally guarantees the court bail money if the defendant skips court or fails to comply with conditions. The Judge or Magistrate will determine the bail amount and who qualifies to become a surety on the bond.  Usually only financially stable people qualify as sureties (employed, steady income, etc.). 

Corporate Surety Bonds or Federal Bail Bonds

This bond is much like a state bail bond where insurance is purchased and submitted to the court as a financial guarantee. However, in Federal Court the surety bond guarantees not just appearances to court but also all conditions of bail or “performance”. This may include drug testing, travel restrictions, pretrial monitoring and other conditions. If the court learns a violation has occurred, it can forfeit the bond immediately and demand payment in full from the bail bond company. Because of this added risk the cost is higher than state bail (normally 15% of the bail amount)  and collateral is always required to guarantee the bond. Bail Bond Professionals is one of the very few agencies approved to write Corporate Surety Bonds throughout California. 

Appearance Bond (Affidavit of Surety – Property)   

This appearance bond uses real estate to guarantee the bond. The judge or magistrate determines which property can be used and the amount of bail needed. The property must have at least the bail amount in equity. Equity is determined by subtracting any outstanding liens or money owed against a property from the current market value. For example; a home appraised at $250,000 which has a mortgage balance of $100,000 has equity of $150,000. The courts are very specific about how these bonds can be prepared. Appraisal, title reports and other documents are required. It is stongly recommended you turn to an expert for help with these bonds as court approval is not easy and defendants can be held in custody longer if bonds are done incorrectly. Bail Bond Professional is the recognized federal bond expert in southern California.  

For more information on Federal Bail Bonds, call us first (888) 389-2245.

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