Sunday, September 4, 2011

Las Vegas Bail Bondsman Targeted In Computer Attack

The owner of Hero Bail Bonds, Josh Caruso, said his bail agency was paralyzed after a computer virus took over his businesses' computers. A sophisticated virus, called a bot, seized control of Hero Bail Bond's computers and enslaved them to the virus.

When computers are put into Botnets, their rightful owners can't use them. They are essentially out of operation and the business itself suffers through the loss of internal resources and productivity.

Josh Caruso said, "Just out of nowhere, our computers crashed,". Bot attacks are on the rise and unfortunately for bail bondsmen, the effects can be devastating. In a business where time is money and people are relying on expediency to secure a loved one's release from jail, Information Technology problems are magnified.

Local Las Vegas computer experts say attacks are on the rise and computer owners, especially those with mission critical systems or sensitive information have to be especially careful. Of course bail bondsmen fall into both of the categories and should consider their options to prevent such attacks.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Real Estate Deal To Permanently Bar Bail Bond Businesses

On August 25th, the Martinez News Gazette reported yet another incident of prejudice against bail bond businesses. The report focused on the efforts of local real estate developers, Kirsten and David Fischer, to obtain two commercial buildings in the neighborhood near the court house.

The Fischers, representing Southport Land and Commercial, offered to buy the two buildings located at 610 and 630 Court Street with cash. One building is owned by the City of Martinez and the other is owned by the County. The Fischers urged the City to push the County to sell their respective building to the Fischers.

 While the City is working through a deal to sell 630 Court Street to the developers, the addition of 610 Court Street would affect how both buildings were rehabilitated and developed.

The Fischers, Martinez city officials and various subcommittee members met to accelerate the deal's timeline. Mr. Fischer noted that the plans for 630 Court Street is contingent upon what is done at 610 Court Street. For example, to comply the American With Disabilities Act, certain aspects to the building would need to be included to any development. However, if both buildings are sold, some of those requirements can be shifted among the two buildings to create better spaces for the entire project.

The City of Martinez is in agreement with one official stating “it is a more compelling project if both buildings are sold at the same time.”

The City is pursuing a sale to the Fischers based on their compelling vision of the redeveloped space. The local developers are planning to create an upscale restaurant on the ground floor with new office suites above that.

The City of Martinez has had a strong vision for their building's use since they purchased it in 2005. They want certain types of restaurants to locate their, while preferring other businesses to not locate at 630 Court Street.

What is interesting is that the developers have proactively and unilaterally committed to a deed restriction that would preclude any bail bonds businesses from occupying space at 610 or 630 Court Street if the sale is consummated. This restriction would not only prohibit the developers from renting space to a bail bondsman, but also any future owners of the building.

Mr. Fischer has openly said that he feels bail bonds businesses are not good for the area or the greater community. He is on record saying, as a local Martinez resident he doesn't want another “bail bonds shop” in the area.

The sale of both 610 and 630 Court Street are still early in the process. However, one thing is for sure. If the Fischers are allowed to purchase the buildings, bail bondsmen will have a tough road ahead if they want to operate near the court house.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bail Set For Nineteen Year Old DUI Defendant

A judge in Las Vegas denied release from house arrest for Ivan Pantoja-Lizarraga. However, the judge did did set bail for the 19 year old man accused of a DUI related death that killed a local Las Vegas woman.

The defendant was arrested for two charges. The first was driving under the influence of alcohol involving an accident with death and secondly for failure to drive in the travel lane.

The prosecutors are still trying to formally file charges and submit the requisite paperwork. The defendant will have his next court date in a few days as a status check on the prosecutors's progress with formal charges. Pantoja-Lizarraga's bail was set with the requirement of a $250,000 surety bond or $25,000 in cash. The judge said he felt like that was a light bail amount for the state, but his decision stood nonetheless.

Investigators say that Pantoja-Lizarraga was driving a car north on Upland Boulevard when he crashed into Maria Sotelo. Ms. Sotelo was standing behind her light pick up truck when she was struck. She was rushed to University Medical Center, but declared dead upon arrival.

At the standard 72-hour hearing, the Chief Deputy District Attorney told William Klephart, who is acting Justice of the Peace, that formal charges had not yet been filed because the state was waiting for blood alcohol test results. The DA asked for three extra days to complete that process.

The Defense attorney pleaded to the judge to release his client, pending formal charges. While the DA cited the defendant as a flight risk in his argument to keep the defendant on house arrest. Justice of the Peace, O'neal sided with the District Attorney's office by saying the additional 3 days was not an unreasonable wait.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bail Bondsmen Face New Fees

As was reported in the Las Vegas Review Journal a few weeks ago, the Las Vegas bail bonds industry has come under intense pressure from a city program. This really shouldn't come as much of a surprise. City, state and federal government bodies are looking for revenue in any and all places during these tough economic times.

The bail bonds industry is relatively easy prey. The industry's trade association yields far less power than other industry trade groups. In addition, bail bondsmen have the dubious honor of doing a necessary, but not very popular job. In other words, the public doesn't have much sympathy for bail bondsmen because their work isn't seen as altruistic.

At the end of the day, that means that when cities or states need money, it can be done on the backs of bail bondsmen with relatively little push back.

Tennessee becomes the latest state to generate fees at the expense of bail bondsmen. Robert Arnold, the Rutherford County Sheriff, began collecting an additional $5 fee for each bail bond issued earlier this month.

The sheriff believes the additional fee will generate up to an extra $70,000 annually. He planes to use the new found money for Information Technology upgrades and additional booking staffing. The bail bond agencies will be billed once a month for their prior month's bonds.

When asked, the sheriff falls back on the argument that the allows the bail bonds fee, therefore he can implement. However, there is one simple answer to the question, why is he doing this to bail bondsmen? That being, because he can. Those that have the power, make the rules.

Unfortunately, as we've seen in Las Vegas and now Tennessee, the bail bondsmen have very little power, so they have a difficult time doing much to stop the implementation of these challenging new rules.

Unless the economy strengthens dramatically in the very near future, I would expect more municipalities, states and various agencies to find novel ways to charge bail bondsmen or otherwise generate their own revenue at the expense of bail agencies.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bail for Las Vegas Drug Case Now Set

Las Vegas bail amounts have been handed out in the criminal cases for the Nevada's largest methamphetamine bust ever. The case involves seizure of nine vehicles, several guns, 208 pounds of methamphetamine, $280,000 in cash and four pounds of heroin.

In what can only be described as a roller coaster ride bail wise, some of the defendants were released on $13,000 bail after first being arrested and put into the Clark County jail. Prosecutors reacting to the magnitude of the charges and evidence seized asked for million dollar bails for everyone but the alledged ring leader. For Oscar Cavadas, prosecutors wanted a $10 million bail amount. To complicate matters, some of the defendants are in the United States as illegal immigrants.

It appears as though many of the seized drugs were smuggled from Mexico.

Ultimately, the preciding justice of the peace settled on a $100,000 bail amount for each charge, for each defendant. However, she decided against raising the $13,000 bail for those defendants that have already posted bail to secure release.

A number of the defendants are being represented by high profile and well respected criminal defense attorney, John Momot.

You can be sure, each Las Vegas bail bondsman is watching this case. It could be a high profile, high dollar opportunity.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Drug Kingpin Arrested and Believed Tied To Shakur Murder Attempt

After eluding authorities for a month, only to be apprehended in New York City on Tuesday (June 21), Jimmy "Henchmen" Rosemond has entered a not guilty plea in response to drug traffic charges.

Rosemond, who was arrested but is being held without bond, has been accused of being the ring leader of a nationwide drug trafficking group. Specifically the organization is said to have transported cocaine and other narcotics between the West Coast and East Coast. The charges claim Rosemond's group is responsible for distributing cocaine in the 100's of kilos range in just past the 2 1/2 years. This activity has been said to have made Rosemond and his group millions of dollars in revenue.

Rosemond's lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, purports that his client's charges are based on shaky witnesses that have been coerced or tainted by the DEA and federal prosecutors.

However, U.S. Attorney Todd Kaminsky argued to the court that the defendant should be denied bail because he is a flight risk. He went onto explain that Rosemond was prepared to run when he was arrested because he had multiple fake driver's licenses and communication devices.

Rosemond was arrested in front of the W Hotel in New York City. He attempted to flee, but police apprehended him after a short foot chase. He is CEO and manager of Czar Entertainment, which lists Mike Tyson and "The Game" as a couple of his clients. It is this entertainment business that authorities claim gave Rosemond the means and cover to illegally transport narcotics across the country. and Mike Tyson as two of his clients, was spotted in front of the W

To make matters worse, a current inmate is now claiming Rosemond hired him to rob now deceased rapper Tupac Shakur in 1994. Although Shakur survived the attack, he was assinated in Las Vegas in 1996.

Monday, July 4, 2011

New Connecticut Bail Bonds Law Institutes New Rules

A new law was passed in Bridgeport, Conn. last week requiring bail bondsmen to keep records of bonds and charge 10 percent fee on of the first $5,000 of the bond and 7 percent of the remainder.  As of Oct. 1st, the bail bondsman will  need to charge 35 percent of those fees down when offering payment plans with full payment to be made within 15 months.

Currently bail bondsmen are undercutting by only charging 1 to 2 percent of a bonds and at times nothing at all.  This is because of the stiff competition.

Two cases in the Bridgeport area brought the bail bonds problem out in the open.  One man while awaiting trial for a police chase spanning three states and allegedly stabbing and kidnapping his wife.  He walked out of jail, held on $1.3 million bond, after giving his bondsman a letter stating he had money he did not have.  He immediately killed his wife.  Another man was bonded out one night and shot his wife to death the next day.
To make sure bondsmen are following the new laws the state has hired special auditors to review all records of the bonds they have posted.  Each bondsman will pay an annual fee of $450 to help pay for the audits..