Bail Bond Confessions Blog

What will next week hold?

September 25, 2010
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Things have been exceedingly slow, yet again.  I’m at 10 clients currently.  My last one was a $100 fee, so its not like I’m exactly rolling in it.  I have a potential client who is turning herself in on a drug charge next week.  Not sure if she will even get a Surety bond of if the judge will just give a 10% option.

Our bail bond association is in complete disarray and I’ve been approached to see if I was interested in serving on the board. I’m thinking it isn’t worth my time since the association only represents maybe 10% of the bondsman in our state.  The rest have no interest in paying dues and honestly, the association has no income and thus no power.  It’s mainly a tool for a few old timer’s to get their own legislation and special interests passed, though they are ineffective at even doing that. Also, none of them ever listen to me when I voice my opinion.  I mean literally, they turn away from me, talk over me, and start other conversations.

Finally, one of my clients still owes me $800 on his original $1,200 debt.  He ducks my calls whenever I try to contact him, avoids answering the door, and does not check in on a weekly basis the way he is supposed to.  The last time I talked to him, I offered to make him a deal:  I can hold off on collecting the $800 until he has paid off his attorney (he’s a referral), as long as he promises to check in each week and agrees to pay an additional $50 fine for each week that he misses.  So far he missed the first one and has not made himself available to sign updated paperwork.  I called his attorney last week and explained the situation and we will see what happens.  If he misses another check in, I don’t know what to do.  Call his employer?  Call his brother (out of work indemnitor)?  Mail him notice via certified mail and then revoke his bond if it comes back unreturned?

Ideas?  Suggestions?

-bbc


4 in 3

September 11, 2010
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So what does that title mean, eh?

It means in the past three months, I have lost four very solid potential clients. These are clients who hired attorneys, had the resources to pay my fee, and were motivated to show up to court. How did I lose them? The judges.

Lately, more and more often our local judges seem to be invoking a rare used option when setting bail:  The 10% option. The story goes that the judge sets the bail and then tacks on the 10% option and explains it that if the family posts 10% of the bond amount in either cash or property, than the defendant is let free and at the end of their case, the court returns the cash or property.

So yeah, now the courts are muscling into the bond business and cutting the bondsman out. This means that there is no collateral to secure the bond nor is there a motivated party out there keeping watch on the defendant and maintaining control over the situation. Furthermore, the courts get to earn interest on the money posted and that does not get returned to the family. In many cases, if there are penalties, court costs, or any other charges, it gets deducted from the posted amount. Oh and that goes for attorney’s fees too.

It’s damn hard to compete against the government.  I’m still trying to do this for a living, but between that and the general slowness of my current business model (only deal with attorney referrals), I’m keeping my eyes open for other business opportunities.

Who knows, I may have to change the title of this blog!

-bbc


Uh Oh…

June 19, 2010
2 Comments

So it has been a month since my last bond.  That part is worrisome enough, though I have enough reserves to keep going a few more months.  However this morning I got a surprise phone call from the parents of THIS guy. Seems they took the family on vacation to the beach.  While they were there, the kid got himself in trouble again.  Two charges, 1) leaving the scene and 2) Petit Larceny.

I don’t have the details yet, but the parents were insistent that they want to revoke his bond and they have no intention of paying the $600 to bond him out from the jail at the beach.

Here is where it gets interesting.  You may recall that the mother and the grandmother are indemnitors on the bond. Well…the grandmother wants the kid to stay on bond and says her other daughter is willing to step in as an additional indemnitor.

This is one big hot mess and as long as the kid is at the beach, I can’t really do much of anything since he is out of my jurisdiction and no warrant has been issued yet.  I’ve consulted with an attorney and with my surety company and it seems that the correct path right now is to wait until Monday.   It looks like the Aunt has gone out to the beach to bond the kid out and the Grandmother assures me he will be staying with her.  On Monday, I’ll go down to the court and file paperwork telling the court that the kid has violated a condition of his bond.  I’m going to leave it up to the judge to decide (as if I have a choice!) whether or not to revoke the bond.  If he decides to revoke it, I think I will offer to re-bond him (assuming the judge sets a new bond amount) to the grandmother, thus pissing off the parents.  If he decides to revoke the bond and not set a new one, I come off fairly clean two both parties since I’m just doing my job and it is out of my hands.  If the judge decides not to revoke the bond, then I’m stuck with a mess on my hands since the parents want off bond.  I think I’m going to tell them that I won’t be able to let them off of indemnification unless I’m able to secure collateral.

Any advice or ideas is more than welcome…

-bbc


Exhausted

April 18, 2010
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So yesterday afternoon, I received a phone call from a distraught mother located several states away.  Her son and two of his friends were arrested for drug possession on their way to a concert. She needed my help bonding her son out and we started with e-mail and faxing documents. I received most of the documents that I needed by dinnertime and was ready to go get the kid first thing this morning.  Last night, before bed, I ran the credit card and it was denied.  It took hours to get this resolved and I didn’t go to bed until well after midnight, but I knew I had captured the full 10% fee.

This morning, I drove out to get the kid.  He is a couple of counties away so it took about an hour.  I then waited nearly two more hours for the judge to arrive and do his thing.  My part of the paperwork took 5 minutes and I was on my way back to the parking lot.  An hour and a half later, my new client was released and I took him out to Lunch.  It was my treat, not that he could have paid if he wanted to, since all of his cash (over $300) was seized by the police because it was a drug related charge.

After lunch, we drove all over the county looking for the impound lot.  Took about an hour and we finally found it.  The GPS was less than useful in the rural county as it directed us to a big empty farm field.

Once at the impound lot, we waited 2.5 more hours for my client’s Aunt and Uncle to arrive.  They were driving up from two states away to pick him up and take him to his Mother.  It worked out because they were moving up there anyway in search of new work opportunities.  It took another hour to get home after that.  So after fees, I made just about $1,000 and it took a tank of gas plus 10 hours of my day.  Not to mention the 2-3 hours that I’ve spent on the phone with the guy’s mother. Assuring, reassuring, and answering all of her questions is a fulfilling job, but time consuming.

I found the mother and son’s extreme gratefulness quite satisfying and I hope that he keeps up his end of the bargain.  It was those kinds of thanks that reminded why I’m in this business to begin with.  I could have just taken the fee and let the kid out of jail and ditched him to make his own way home.  It would have taken maybe 3 hours of my time, but that isn’t the quality of service I try to provide to my clients and I feel it sets me apart from the competition in a very good way.

-bbc


$1mil

February 15, 2010
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Over the weekend I was teased with the idea of the mythical $1million bond. The attorney said she didn’t think the dude would get a bond, but if he did, it would be high.  In the end, the dude had bond denied.  Just as well since I don’t have that kind of writing authority and I’m not even sure my Surety company would be able to underwrite a bond that large.

Still…it was nice to fantasize about the fee on that one. Sort of like dreaming about winning the lottery.

-bbc


$150,000!

February 5, 2010
3 Comments

The deal is done and the defendant is home.  It happened so quickly, I don’t know where to begin.  Basically, one of the attorneys I’ve met with referred the Mom to me.  She called and we discussed the case.  I quoted 10% plus collateral. They claimed to not have any collateral, so I explained that will make it a little more challenging.  I cajoled my insurance company into approving it anyway (way way above my writing authority) and they drove a power down and met me at the courthouse.  Meanwhile, I met the mother at the grandmother’s house and they both signed on as indemnitors.  Since the defendant is a minor being tried as an adult, we loaded on a ton of conditions.

Kid has to complete GED/high school degree.  No drugs.  No driving anywhere.  No contact with any of the other parties involved in his case.  And he is not allowed out of his house unless he is escorted by his parents or grandmother.

They had cash up front (combo of cash, check, credit card).  The court closes at 5pm, so we needed to get it all done before then or he is in jail all weekend long.  Made a mad dash from the grandmother’s house to the court and had about 20 minutes to spare.  Picked the kid up from Jail a couple hours later and drove him home.  Made sure all my documents are signed and he is straight.

It was interesting.  When I first met him in the jail lobby, he was all jive and ghetto.  By the time I got him home, he was all “Yes Sir, No Sir”.

This was a huge relief.  I’ll wait a few days before I start worrying about his ability to show up to court.  For now, I’m just dancing on clouds.  After all the expenses, I netted just over $6k.

-bbc


Have lots to say, but no time.

February 5, 2010
1 Comment

So here’s a quick hint:

$150,000 bond.

-bbc


Still quiet

October 4, 2009
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I’ve had a birthday and an anniversary is coming up, but otherwise, there isn’t much to talk about.  I’ve started reaching out to criminal attorneys about getting referrals, but I’m getting a cold response.

I’ve had a couple of bites for people who want out of jail, but they can’t afford the fee.  They don’t have anyone that will pay for them.  Tough times.

I have no more accounts receivable at the moment.  I collected the remainder of my last bond fee.  I went to a really sad looking trailer park to do it.  Then I had to take the client to the bank to cash a check to ensure my payment.  All in a day’s work.

-bbc


Here’s a little story about a man named Zeb

September 19, 2009
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So this whole damn drama just cost me around $30-$35  in collect calls today.  At least I can write it up for posterity sake. Name’s changed to protect the guilty.

So I get a phone call this morning from a man named Zeb.  He was arrested the other day and has a $1275 bail for DUI. Except that he also happens to have a bench warrant with a $653 fine in an adjoining county.  Poor Zeb has is own business mowing lawns and he also details cars for extra money.  He needs to get out because he has some jobs lined up.  Zeb isn’t married, but he has a baby Mama (Genevieve) and they have been together a long time.  In fact, according to court records, they’ve been evicted from a few different places, but it looks like they stayed together through the tough times.  Zeb’s got himself a little girl and I guess I’m a little to empathetic because I tried to help him out more than I should have, which is why the collect calls racked up.

He gave me a number for Genevieve, but she doesn’t have an answering machine and she wasn’t at home since she went to the flea market to sell some stuff. So after trying that # a few times (and there is an issue in that my phone can only 3way call out, but I can’t selectively disconnect one of the parties and try again!), we then called Genevieve’s brother, Abe.  Abe wasn’t too keen on helping and basically told Zeb that she wasn’t around.  This went on once or twice throughout the day.  Finally, Zeb was supposed to call me before lockdown at 10pm, but he jumped the gun and started calling around 8pm.  I ignored the calls until 8:30p and tried Genevieve’s number to no avail. When I finally answered Zeb’s calls, he convinced me to try Abe’s number and lo and behold, Genvieve was there!  This is where the fun begins.

You see, Zeb tells me that Genevieve will be getting paid soon and she will pay his $653 fine in the other county and my $120 fee (yes, that is all that I would make from this ordeal, before expenses).  But when he starts talking with her (and he doesn’t know I’m listening in), she tells him that they can’t afford it or they will be evicted again. He tells her to do it anyway, that he will find them a new place to live, but she doesn’t bite.  Back in the day, Zeb and her must have discussed this scenario of him being arrested again, because she brings up this old conversation of theirs where he told her he would man up and do the time to get it over with.

I guess it is easy to say things like that when you are free, but much harder to follow through when you are locked up.  Poor Zeb started crying on the phone to her.  Begging her to let him out, but bless Genevieve, she stuck to her guns and insisted that she will use that money for rent and not let herself and their child get evicted.  And then they ran out of time and get disconnected.

A little while later, I get a call back from Zeb.  He is quite insistent that Genevieve will pay me on Monday (two days from now) and that will get him out of his current county and transferred to the other county where he will do his time.  I pressed him on this as it didn’t seem like that was how they resolved the last call.  But since he still doesn’t know I listen in, I can’t be too obvious about what I know.  He has no other way of talking to her except through me and yet he didn’t bother to give her my name or contact info.

He assured me that the plan is set and he just needs to tell her how to contact me to arrange payment.  I go ahead and put him through (I’m such a sucker!) and they talk it out a little longer, but again he doesn’t mention me, nor does he even mention the plan.  It’s the same old stuff about him wanting out, she not having the money, and them having to deal with it.  He talks to his kid for a minute and I tear up, but at least it is on mute.  The kid puts Mama back on and they say their good byes.  He asks her to put some money into the Paytel system so he can call her directly, then they run out of time.

At this point, Zeb thinks he has me convinced that I’m getting paid on Monday, but I know better.  I’m sure he will call me in the morning with some excuse for why he wasn’t able to get the plan to her or whatnot.  But what he doesn’t know is that I called Genevieve back a few minutes after their last call. I played dumb and told her basically what he told me.  That she will be paying me on Mon. and he will transfer to the other jail at that time.

Genevieve was all kinds of “hell no!” and she forcefully (but politely) explained to me that they don’t have any money for bail and he is going to sit there and tough it out.  So now I’m ready to call Zeb on his lies to me when he calls me in the morning.  Hopefully, I will get him to scout out at least one good bond while he is in there to make it all worthwhile for me.

So like I said…I’m out like $30 in collect calls, but at least I got a story out of it.

-bbc


London calling

September 18, 2009
2 Comments

So the phone rang off the hook yesterday.  I guess I’m only posted in one jail so far, but it probably cost me a small fortune in collect calls just answering yesterday.  Got to the point where I had to start ignoring calls. Why is that?

Well, since I’m the “new number” posted, I was getting calls from every guy thats been in there for months and months and have no chance of getting out. They all want to convince me to let them out since no one else will bond them out.

I’m hoping that will calm down some over the next few days. I really am concerned at the mounting costs of these collect calls. The jails have a real racket going on.  Minimum is $2.60 for a call up to $18 per call.  It depends on the jail, the distance, and who knows what else.

I thought I might have some good stories to relate, but they are all the same. Inmate calls, inmate tries to scam me into letting him out, inmate is disappointed.

-bbc


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