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Friday, October 24, 2008

Rebating Issue Settled

The DIFP reports that General Agent Charles Telle, of Hillsboro, paid a voluntary forfeiture (fine) to the Missouri School Fund to settle a disciplinary issue brought by the department. The DIFP alleged that Telle offered to rebate potential clients’ bond premiums by offering a 25% discount to those clients who voluntarily surrendered themselves to authorities. Also, the complaint alleged that Telle failed to respond to a department inquiry in a timely fashion and used an unauthorized marketing name. The settlement agreement states that Telle voluntarily paid the $300 fine without admission of a violation of the law.

The rebating statute can be found here at RSMO 374.717. A bondsman may not offer a discount, rebate, or give anything of value to a client or anyone on the client's behalf.

Pastor/Bounty Hunter Rescues the Lost

TN-Dr. Butch Varner, of Chattanooga, has combined two unlikely professions; he is a bounty hunter and a church pastor. When asked about how he reconciles both jobs, he answered, “We’re rescuing the lost (in both). We’re rescuing people who are on a bad course. In fact, in physical bounty hunting, almost everyone we’ve caught, they realize, man, we’re nice to them when we catch them, and we generally minister the gospel to them. It’s an opportunity. We know some people who have wound up going to our church. That is not our main evangelistic thrust, but we do see fruit from that.”

Bondsmen Witness Burglary During Stake Out

WA-According to KNDO-TV, unidentified bondsmen were performing surveillance on a house in Pasco, Washington, waiting for the homeowners to return. Instead, they saw three men pull into the driveway and break into the home. The bondsmen witnessed the alleged burglars load property into a car and leave. The bondsmen called police, who arrested the men a short distance from the home.

The news article does not say if the homeowners were thankful that the bondsmen placed them under surveillance and were able to help them recover their property. Also unknown, is whether the stake-out was successful and the bondsmen were able to locate the person they were looking for.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Economy Hits Bail Bond Market

FL-Here is an interesting article posted on from Florida. According to the article, although crime may be unaffected by the economy, fewer people can afford the state-imposed 10% minimum bond fee and so more defendants are waiting in jail for their cases to be heard.

Conklin Featured in News-Leader

The Springfield News-Leader featured an article about general agent Ty Conklin’s other line of work. Conklin custom designed a motorcycle hearse and rents it to bikers wishing to send their loved ones out biker-style. Conklin’s website is

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bail Scammers Target Restaurants

A bail bond scam was reported to authorities in Conway, AR. According to the Log Cabin Democrat, a manager of a Waffle House received a phone call early Sunday morning from a man who identified himself as Brandon Clay and said he was a bondsman. The man said that he was at a Pulaski County jail with one of her employees, who had been injured in a car accident, and asked the manager for $220 to bond the man out. A few hours after the manager transferred the money, she told police, she found out that the employee had been at home asleep the whole time. A check of Arkansas licensing records reveals that there is no Brandon Clay licensed as a bondsman.

The identical scam was reported in Florida last month. Impersonators targeted restaurants, reporting that an employee had been arrested. The restaurants wired the money only to find out later that the named employee had never been arrested. Police report that it is difficult to find the accused scammers because the entire transaction was conducted by telephone.

How to avoid this scam: Check state licensing records. Almost all states have licensing records online. In Missouri, you can find them here. Call law enforcement authorities where the bond is located. Confirm that the co-worker or loved one is in custody and the person calling is an agent in that area. Check the yellow pages for bail bond companies.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


MN-Here's a great story from Minnesota Public Radio about a couple who got into the bail bond business in their 60s. The article reviews the couple's interactions with the courts and clients and their philosophy about the bail business.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dotson Sentenced to 20 Years

Glen Dotson was sentenced today in US District Court in St. Louis to serve a total of 20 years. Dotson was found guilty in May of conspiracy to commit murder and delivering a firearm to a known felon. He was sentenced to 10 years on each charge to be served consecutively. Glen Dotson and Virgil Lee Jackson, both formerly licensed bail bond agents, conspired to murder competitor Gerald "Jerry" Cox in 2005. Jackson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to 10 years.

St Louis Post Dispatch

My Previous coverage:
Lee Jackson held on federal charges 4/1/2006
Dotson Arrested/New Charges for Jackson 6/2/2006
Dotson/Jackson trial postponed 6/8/2006
Arraignment 6/13/2006
Trial postponed again 10/28/2006
Dotson Freed on Bond 11/15/2006
Jackson Accused of Another Murder Plot 11/22/2006
January Trial Date Postponed 1/22/2007
March Date Postponed 3/19/2007
Jackson Pleads Guilty 8/13/2007
Dotson Faces New charges 8/27/2007
Jackson Sentenced 11/1/2007
Jackson's Bail License Revoked 2/8/2008
Dotson Found Guilty 5/12/2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Craigslist-How to Avoid a Greedy Bondsman

I found the following ad on St. Loius area Craigslist this morning. As you can see, the ad is a posted as a consumer notice on how to avoid being “RIPPED OFF by a greedy bondsman.” Out of curiosity, I called the number. It is actually an ad for a particular bonding company and tells potential clients five good questions to ask your bondsman.

Those five questions are:

What is your experience? Your reputation? How fast can you bond my loved one? How much do you charge? What are your qualifications?

I think these are all good questions to ask of any bondsman. The recorded ad warns potential clients how to avoid unscrupulous bail bond agents and, of course, directs clients to a particular bail bond company.

Craigslist Ad:
Consumer Warning Notice:

Before you hire ANY professional Bail Bondsman, you encouraged to call a TOLL FREE hotline to listen to a free recorded message that reveals the 5 questions you must ask in order to avoid being RIPPED OFF by a greedy bondsman. Call TOLL FREE (877) 626-8683 X 3004.

Side note: The Missouri consumer hotline of the Department of Insurance, Consumer Affairs Division is 1-800-726-7390. The Consumer Affairs Division is responsible for investigating complaints against anyone licensed by the DIFP.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bail Scam Targets Seniors

The St. Louis Business Journal warns readers of a new bail bond scam targeting seniors. The STL-BJ reports, “An 85-year-old St. Ann, Mo., woman answered her phone recently, the voice on the other end said, “Grandma?” When she replied yes, he told her, “I’m in trouble. I’m in jail in Montreal. I was arrested because the guy I was traveling with had dope in his luggage. Grandma, I need you to wire me $5,129 for bail money. Once I get back to St. Louis I can return the bail money to you.” The victim did not wire the money and contacted the Better Business Bureau. The BBB has warned senior citizens to be aware of this emerging telephone scam preying on grandparents nationwide.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bail News from Other States

NV-According to KVBC-TV, Bondsman Dale Hazel, of Las Vegas, successfully deterred two armed robbers who tried to rob his bail bond office in the middle of the night. One of the accused robbers was later apprehended. He was a former client of the bail bond company. The other remains at large.

FL-The News-Press reports that bondsman Kevin McHugh made an appointment with a client to discuss payment issues in Bonita Springs, FL. When McHugh arrived at the residence, through an open window, he observed Charles See inside the apartment with drugs in plain view. McHugh called police, who seized 223 grams of marijuana and 1.2 grams of cocaine, 33 oxycoton pills and 40 broken pieces of Zanax pills.

FL-WFTV reports that Casselberry police might have never known about a meth lab had it not been for the bail bondsman who entered a house to revoke the bond of one of the residents. The bondsman discovered the small-scale meth lab in one of the rooms of the house. Agents with the DEA dismantled the meth lab.

NJ-According to Jersey Journal, three law enforcement officers and two bounty hunters have been charged with multiple charges for falsifying body receipts for defendants who have been placed in custody and bribery. Capt. Kenneth Sisk of the prosecutor's office and former sheriff's officers William Chadwick and Alberto Vasquez were charged with giving "body receipts" to bounty hunter Adel Mikhaeil to make it appear he brought 15 fugitives to justice, according to an indictment. The suspects actually had been arrested by law enforcement officers, authorities said. The indictment charges the former officers with official misconduct, falsifying records, theft by deception and conspiracy, while Chadwick was additionally charged with acceptance of unlawful benefit. It is alleged that Mikhaeil gave Chadwick, who served as captain of the sheriff's fugitive unit, $5,500 in return for six "body receipts." Neither Sisk nor Vasquez, a detective in the sheriff's fugitive unit, is accused of taking bribes. Mikhaeil would then turn in those fake "body receipts" to collect higher fees from the insurance companies that had posted bail on the fugitives. Mikhaeil was also accused of passing more than $5,000 in bribes to James Irizarry to steer more cases to him through his former employer, which helped locate fugitives for insurance companies that insure bail bonds. Trevor Williams, one of Mikhaeil's bounty hunter crew, also faces numerous counts including charges he helped Mikhaeil cover up $92,000 in commercial bribes allegedly paid to an insurance company executive in return for business.

Nole Arrested for Possession

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that bondsman Arlie Nole, of Hallsville, was arrested yesterday for possession of a controlled substance after the Boone County sheriff’s deputies conducted a search of three homes northeast of Columbia. Nole was released from custody after posting a $9,000 bond.

Nole’s bail bond licensing status indicates he has been licensed since 1994 and works under the authority of Harold McBee.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bondsman Charged with Stealing Premium

According to the Daily Journal in Park Hills, MO, bondsman Michele Mayes was charged with Class B felony stealing in connection with bail bonds she wrote. The charge alleges Mayes did not report 72 of the 489 bonds she wrote and failed to pay Allison Bonding $68,000 on those bonds. Mayes was employed by Jack Allison of Allison Bonding and worked from an office in Farmington from January 2006 to February 2008. She was supervised by bondsman, Tim Tucker.

According to casenet, Mayes’ bond is set at $25,000 cash only. She has not been arrested on the warrant.

Update: On 10/7/2008 Mayes' bond was reduced to $7,500 cash only. She surrendered to authorities and posted bond.