ATTN: JOE CENTORINO, CHIEF PUBLIC CORRUPTION UNIT
FROM: YOUR PAL RUMPOLE
RE: CORRUPTION RIGHT UNDER YOUR NOSE.
When you prosecutors emerge from your office every morning, full of pep and vigor and Starbucks and ready to go do justice, take a quick glance to your right. As you emerge from your confines on 12th Avenue, lugging your boxes and coloured files, just take a peek to your right.
See where the fence with the barbed wire ends? And then a little more to the right is the PD'S office. In between the two is a part of the jail called the East Wing where people go to pick up their loved ones who are bonding out of jail.
Now, when you are coming back from that late lunch, especially after 2:30 PM., look over to the East wing. See that group of nefarious ner-do-wells loitering on the street? That' s a pack of bondsmen and women lying in wait to pounce on the unsuspecting civilians who wander over there from the felony bond hearings on the 5th floor of the REGJB trying to get their family member out of jail. The bondsmen lie, cheat, threaten, and trick unsuspecting individuals into hiring their company to write the bond.
Think that's bad? Try this.
The bondsmen send their runners to the bond hearing on the fifth floor. When a family member appears in court and the Judge lowers the bond, the runners call over to the bondsman waiting by the East wing (as the felony bond hearings begin at 2:45 PM), and then, before they are hired, they put in the paperwork to bond the defendant out. When the unsuspecting family member goes to the East Wing the bondsman approaches them, and here is where the sell can turn easy or hard: they are either told that the bond company was already called by the person in jail and they have posted the bond and need to be paid, or they are threatened, taken to a bondsman's office, and in some cases, held against their will, until the bond is paid.
There are documented cases of the bondsman bonding people out of jail, handcuffing them, taking them to their office, and holding them in custody until someone appears with cash.
Here' s a little experiment. Wander over to the East Wing one day and sort of just mill around and look lost. Before you can say "scum" a person will come over and offer to help. Ask them where to go to get someone out of jail. You will be swarmed. You will be told you must use a bondsman and cannot post a cash bond. They will ask the name, and when you tell them, they will pretend to check a list and tell you they have already been called and posted the bond and you must pay them.
Even bondsmen are upset at this. The honest bondsmen who do an honest job will tell you that whenever they go to post a bond, they have to fight off other bondsmen who have already put in the paper work trying to score a fee. Bondsmen at the jail have office staff that use the public access computers to get names and phone numbers and call people at home at all hours of the day or night soliciting bonds, usually telling the person that they have already put in the bond paperwork and need to get paid. If that person has already contacted a legitimate bondsmen, they will be told they must use their company, or that they work for the bondsman already called. In sum, they lie, cheat, and steal their way into getting business.
The variations of this scam are endless.
It's a disgraceful affair.
It demeans the justice system and rewards the thieves and hustlers at the expense of legitimate bondsmen who run a clean operation.
And this is just an educated guess, but we will take a wild stab here and postulate that the same bondsmen who steal and hustle cases also tell the defendants that they must hire a particular attorney or they will surrender the bond and put the defendant back in jail.
And that's a crime.
Just in case Mr. Centorino and his crew are looking for a little corruption.
It's less than 100 yards away from the entrance to their office.
Right under their noses.
We know this is Miami. And we realize that Mr. Centorino and his crew have their hands full with city commissioners, politicians, not to mention police officers and the odd attorney now and then. But the fact that these scams take place not less than a football field from the State Attorneys Office somehow makes the whole mess all the more odious.
Your Humble Servant,
The illegal we do immediately.
The unconstitutional takes a little longer.
- Henry Kissinger