California Bail Bond Agents Arrested

November 24, 2008

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced that bail bond agents Joaquin Gracilazo Cruz and Isaac Trevino were arrested in connection with suspected fraud.

Cruz was charged with 19 felony counts including embezzlement, false imprisonment, attempted extortion and hiring unauthorized bounty hunters. Bail for Cruz has been set at $150,000. Cruz’s common law wife, Eduvina “Diane” Chacon was also arrested for suspected ties to this alleged fraud.

Trevino was charged with 6 felony counts including perjury and conspiracy to commit embezzlement. His bail has been set at $60,000.

CDI investigators discovered that between September 2004 and October 2008, Cruz, owner of Cruz Bail Bonds, allegedly manipulated and coerced bailees and indemnitors into signing incomplete documents, CDI said. Cruz then purportedly used the documents to fraudulently forge, transfer and sell collateral that he possessed as a bail agent — to profit from his clients without their knowledge. This included the alleged transferring of titles to homes and vehicles to Cruz or Chacon, even when bailees had not broken terms of their bail bond agreements. Once title was changed, Cruz or Chacon would allegedly use the property themselves, or sell it to retain profits. Property and monetary loss from their alleged scheming is estimated to be at least $298,000.

CDI said its investigators discovered that Trevino, a licensed bail bond agent and notary public, conspired with Cruz and Chacon to falsify, forge and alter title documents for property and vehicles. The alleged intent was to pass the titles as genuine with the Kern County Recorder’s Office and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

The CDI investigation was launched in August 2006, after the Department received a complaint from an indemnitor, alleging that she had been kidnapped by three unlicensed bounty hunters hired by Cruz. The victim alleged that the bounty hunters threatened to take her to jail if she did not give them additional money or collateral that had not been agreed upon initially.

This case is being prosecuted by the Kern County District Attorney’s Office.

Source: CDI

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