Minutes Away from
Santa Rita Jail
Arrest of Bail Bondsman in Stanislauss County Sends Clear Message
Posted on: 09/16/2011
Getting released from jail feels good. You’re out walking around and free. You might worry about fighting your charges, dealing with family or work, but the bail bondsman? The last thing you need or expect is to be ripped from a street corner by your bail agent, especially not to be shaken down for more money. This is the nightmare that several Stanislaus County residents allegedly went though. Last Friday Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced that bail agent Aleo J. (A.J.) Pontillo, owner of AJ’s Bail Bonds, and bail agent and office manager Janelle M. Llorens, were arrested for kidnapping clients for the purpose of extortion and insurance fraud. Bail was set at $2,000,000 and $1,000,000, respectively.
“The arrests of these unscrupulous licensed bail agents should send a very clear message,” said Commissioner Dave Jones. “The severity of their alleged crimes will simply not be tolerated.”
According to investigators, from 2006 through 2010, the investigation revealed that Pontillo, Llorens and Davis were in conspiracy to defraud the County of Stanislaus of monies rightfully owed, or soon to be owed, under the bail forfeiture process and committed perjury to further the scheme. Investigators also determined that they committed insurance fraud by submitting bonds to the County of Stanislaus to falsely represent a fugitive of the court had been apprehended; and that Pontillo and Llorens conspired to kidnap no less than six of AJ Bail Bond client’s, all of whom were former arrestees bonded out of jail by the business, for the sole purpose of extorting a bail bond premium debt.
These AJ Bail Bond clients were apprehended and transported to AJ’s Bail Bonds, held and threatened with return to jail if they could not generate or obtain a premium payment from family or friends. If money was obtained, some of the arrestees were released from the office – others who could not produce a premium payment, were surrendered back to jail without cause.
“This criminal conspiracy abused those who had already paid a premium bond for their release from jail,” said Commissioner Jones. “To have them snatched from the street and extorted for additional funds or face the threat of return to jail is abhorrent.”
The investigation leading to the arrests was a joint cooperative effort between CDI’s Investigations Division – COPS Unit, the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Modesto Office, and, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department. The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case.