06/13/10 — Three face charges for illegal bail bond work

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Three face charges for illegal bail bond work

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on June 13, 2010 1:50 AM

A growing problem with unlicensed bail bondsmen operating illegally in North Carolina hit home this week, with three people arrested for the offense on Thursday.

Jamie Rebecca Taylor, 34, of Linen Lane, is a licensed bail bondsman.

Her husband, Anthony Maurice Taylor, 39, is not, nor is acquaintance Ricky Lacarda Thomas, 42, of Young Drive, Mount Olive.

The N.C. Department of Insurance, which regulates such matters, alleges that Mrs. Taylor used her husband and the Mount Olive resident to apprehend an unnamed Wayne County defendant in March 2009.

All three now face charges, with Mrs. Taylor charged with two counts of aiding and abetting unlicensed bail bond activities. Her husband and Thomas were both charged with operating as unlicensed bail bondsmen.

The Taylors were released under $500 bonds, while Thomas was released by written promise to appear in court, according to Wayne County Sheriff's Office records.

Bail bondsmen provide the security for "secured" bonds, amounts a defendant pledges to forfeit if he or she does not show for a court date.

But bond workers must be licensed to pursue people who have "jumped bail," the common lingo among law enforcement officers for bail absconders.

Kerry Hall, an assistant director of public information for the N.C. Department of Insurance, said she was unsure how the investigation into Mrs. Taylor began.

"I am not sure if this is a tip we got from somebody, or what," Ms. Hall said. "It is something that the state regulates. We can't have people who are unlicensed acting in that capacity."

Although it is an uncommon charge in recent years in Wayne County, state Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin's office says unlicensed bondsmen are a growing problem in the state.

In the past two years, the department claims a 66 percent increase in criminal cases dealing with unlicensed bail bondsmen, Ms. Hall said.

"That certainly is noteworthy, that we've seen a 66 percent increase," Ms. Hall said. "It is something we've seen a lot of, and are making a lot of arrests on."