Anthony Ray Willis, 34, of Anaheim, pled guilty this week to two felony counts -grand theft and transacting bail without a license – in Orange County Superior Court.
The case, resulting from an investigation conducted by the California Department of Insurance, Investigation Division (CDI), was successfully prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
“Unethical and illegal bail activity sullies the names of good bail agents,” said Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi. “My department will continue diligently investigating that portion of the insurance industry which preys on vulnerable Californians, and the bail bond trade is no exception.”
In an ironic turn of events given the crimes, Willis himself was sentenced to 60 days in the Orange County jail, placed on three years of formal probation, and ordered to pay the victim full restitution.
In early 2002, Willis, a local nightclub bouncer, collected $2,750 in bail bond premiums from a Dana Point man attempting to post bail for a friend being held on federal charges.
Despite reportedly not possessing a bail agent’s license, Willis convinced his victim that he was a licensed and experienced bail agent capable of posting the required bail bond. After collecting a $2,000 down payment from the victim and failing to post the bond as promised, Willis reportedly squeezed an additional three payments from the victim over the course of several weeks.
Willis reportedly kept all of the bail premium monies, but never obtained a bail bond for the incarcerated defendant, who remained in federal prison until her trial date.
Willis surrendered himself on Sept. 27, 2004, to the Costa Mesa Police Department on a felony arrest warrant for the charges to which he eventually pled guilty.
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