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 Post subject: Discussing our industry problems
 Post Posted: Thu 28 Jan 2016 09:11 
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Joined: Fri 02 Mar 2007 10:51
Posts: 5052
Location: South Central Virginia
FRN Agency ID #: 1474
Experience: More than 10 years
I suppose all industries have their problems... it seems ours has always had ours...

Here is part of an article I wrote... my opinion only... responding to a post on another site related to certain problems within the industry in the great state of California...


... licensed in Virginia, I can say we all have our problems in this industry, much of it is self inflicted... defined as within our own ranks... agents that are greedy and self serving... little training and not interested in the business as a whole... could care less about their reputations, only the money... the word, IMHO is “CHARACTER”... and the lack of it. The bond schedules followed in many states are way out of line... there is no reason (IMHO) a 1st. offense DUI should be $25k or more... I attended a CBAA conference, as some may recall, back a few years ago and I was flabbergasted at the amount of bonds that were being written.... I sat at a table at dinner and listened to agents that had 2 and $300,000 and more in their buff accounts.... were writing a million a month, some much more... now I know that may be a bit more than most but then again... who knows??? I think some of the sureties are hiring anyone they can put on the streets... just to get the numbers up... with little thought to the background of those they hire... I could not believe some of the people that I saw in this business... the way they talked, the way they dressed and the way they discussed their business with their clients and other agents… maybe that is why they wanted me to come out there and give a talk on "old school bonding"... "attitudes and image"... I am sure I was thought of as a ‘country bumpkin’... and frankly that is ok with me... because if I had a choice... I would be exactly who and where I am... regardless of the money or fame of some of those agents I saw in California... I have never written a million in a year… I come close… maybe 7 or 800,000 with probably 150 to 250 bonds involved. But when I got in this business, 16 years ago… I thought if I could write 20 to 30,000 a month… that would be fine. I generally do a bit better than that but with our bond schedules and other related factors, I simply bump along.

I heard how agents were collecting much less than the prescribed amount for the premiums… some as little as 1%... also heard how some would write the bond with NO MONEY… NO indemnitor, get the defendant out and then take them home and try to pressure the family to pay the premium and if it didn’t work out… they would return the defendant to custody… now tell me… how ethical is that??? How can anyone that is trying to do this business honorably and ethically compete with those agents… never happen.

Agents or companies that station agents on the jail properties 24/7… approaching clients as they come to the jail… soliciting inside the jails, courtrooms, clerks offices… with inmates and jailers and even court appointed clerks and others that have an inside job… totally unethical and frankly unlawful but continues with no apparent enforcement or corrective measures by regulatory agencies. Oh I know… I see an occasional bust on bondsmen and judicial employees but they appear to be simply token arrests that allow the majority to continue their unethical and/or illegal activities.

These situations are the problems and frankly, I don’t see how they can get fixed. Greed, lack of character from the top down, total disregard for the laws and regulations and an overall lack of enforcement by the regulatory agencies will bring this industry down. It’s gonna happen and frankly, we deserve what we are headed toward.

Damn, I hate to be so negative, but I get so frustrated when I see this happening on a daily basis… not only in California but all across the country. Virginia is no exception.

The judicial system is another problem which I frankly won’t even attempt to discuss. I will simply say that when I hear a sitting judge, look over those pseudo-intellectual horn rimmed glasses and say to the court… “I’m not going to make my clerks do that…” and that is related to the code of Virginia, which they choose not to follow… tell me people… when those that make the laws choose not to enforce those laws or decide to only apply them in circumstance they deem warranted… where do we go from there? The problem as I see it is simply that many judges want to legislate rather than judge from the bench.

I will remain the old uneducated country bumpkin bondsman…and that is fine with me… to belong to the group I am talking about is not something I aspire to … sure, I would love to have 300k or more in my buff… to be able to walk away a few years from now with a nice nest egg… but if I have to operate in a manner that I feel is against my personal ethics… ain’t gonna happen. I told my surety, when I first transferred to them, some 10 years ago… I am not gonna set the world on fire with you… I will write clean business and those that turn out wrong… I will fix… I will not give you any problems and I will keep my business up to date. I will say that even after 10 years of writing for this particular surety (whom I will not mention by name)… if I have the occasion to call them, which doesn’t happen often… they have no idea who I am… and that is fine with me.

oh, and I haven't even touched on the recovery side of this business.... that is another ball of wax...

Bill Marx, Sr.

DCJS: 99-176979
Cell: 434-294-0222

"Endeavor to Persevere" "Lone Watie"

"Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that , comes from bad judgment" "Will Rogers"

 Post subject: Re: Discussing our industry problems
 Post Posted: Fri 29 Jan 2016 12:54 
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Joined: Thu 06 Jul 2006 14:22
Posts: 3983
Location: Maryland and Virginia
FRN Agency ID #: 455
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Nice article Bill. We have always been our own worst enemy. Organizations and associations have few active members and many card carrying termites who are satisfied to rest on the laurels of others. We have industry leaders who talk out of both sides of their mouth, piety on one side, crooked as Mullholland Drive on the other. This is the reason, in my humble opinion, that the Mom and Pops are being driven out of this industry, and they were the ones with integrity that paid the bonds that they could not recover, instead of tying up the courts with lawsuits to delay payment. In MD, this activity has caused the court to respond with a mandatory appellate fee of the full face value of the bond. That is correct, pay me now and we will discuss if you really owe it after we already have your money. Is anybody aware of the reputation governments have of returning monies?


R.E. "Scott" MacLean III

"Leaders are like Eagles, you never see them in a flock, but one at a time"

Chesapeake Group Investigations, Inc.
Chesapeake Bail Bonds
301-392-1100 (fax)
301-392-1900 (Office)

 Post subject: Re: Discussing our industry problems
 Post Posted: Fri 29 Jan 2016 14:55 
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Joined: Thu 01 Dec 2011 03:49
Posts: 1185
Location: Los Angeles, California
FRN Agency ID #: 4013
Experience: More than 10 years
Ha Ha Ha! Governments typically do not return money...

Jason Pollock
Surety Risk Management
Los Angeles, California
(323) 786-FIND

"Approach is Everything."

 Post subject: Re: Discussing our industry problems
 Post Posted: Fri 29 Jan 2016 15:50 
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Joined: Thu 09 Mar 2006 14:51
Posts: 3344
Location: Richmond, California
FRN Agency ID #: 3904
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Bill hit on many important issues.

Even though many other industries or professions have their own equal problems, private bail is being and has been for years, used as a scapegoat for the majority of the problems with the CJS. We are a very convenient and hated target, probably below used car salesmen.

As part of the new "reform" push to save the criminals, bail is being blamed for making them accept harsher sentences because they can't afford to bail, save their jobs, ( not that they had any legitimate ones ) lose their marriages, etc........

Bill is correct, we are own worse enemy. We ask for extensions and then file the most creative appeals to try and get out of our responsibility to the court.

Instead of doing our homework on the front end and making sure that we are writing a good bond and have our butts covered just in case, we file appeals to get out of paying that bond off.

Regarding the Peoples Republic of Cal I Forn I A, we have led the nation in destroying the profession from within. The illegal and unethical actions of the few agents, has tarnished all of us.

Also we, I mean collectively and not me in particular, have talked out of both sides of the mouth for years.

Here is an example.

The bail associations for decades cried and whined about how the DOI was not enforcing the rules and regs. The DOI came back and said we don't have the funds to go after every complaint we get.

Some agents and sureties said we would be willing to pay into a fund to cover more enforcement. So, last year the DOI proposed leg to add a $20 per bond fee to hire more DOI agents strictly for bail enforcement.

Geez, you should have heard the associations and sureties cry foul and say that the new "tax" would put us out of business! Never did they mention that this so called tax would be paid by the defendant.

So, during a hearing on the bond fee, the associations and sureties packed the room with speakers that opposed the fee.

Some of them complained that the DOI rules were UNENFORCEABLE!. I asked some of them why if the laws were unenforceable, that none of them EVER brought that up before?

I could not get a coherent answer from anyone.

Now these are leaders of the bail associations in California and this was just an example of how we used the laws when they were convenient for us, but when it look like the laws would start to be enforced and put some of the bad agents and their sureties out of business, then all of a sudden the laws were wrong.

A well named bail agent from the Sac area got up in front of the DOI hearing and lied about conflicts in the laws. When I confronted him out side the meeting room asking for which laws he was citing, he said that the laws did NOT say he couldn't do a particular thing, which he was stating was illegal when he spoke to the DOI committee.

When I first got into the business, I went to all the conventions and met these agents that were in business for decades. I thought these people were "gods." They were successful, smart and ethical.

Well it took awhile for the glow to where off and the truth to come out.

Not all of them are two faced, back stabbing, self centered opportunists, but many that I had held in high regard are!

I will bet that there are more people on this forum and in NABBI and NAFRA that I respect way more so than the majority in the CBAA, GSBAA and PBUS!

I will stay involved but not to the level I did in the past. I have a rich wife that can carry me if I don't write another bond in my life. I started collecting SS this year and I found out that I have a small pension from the tv job I held in the '70s.

On top of that I took Scotts advise and started multiple streams of income. So, if the bail bonding business goes away anytime soon, I'm covered.

Tony Suggs
Castle Confidential Investigations
Richmond, CA 94804
PI 29038

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