Mission Viejo man sentenced in bail bonds scheme

Might be older news but certainly good information for the bail community.

A bail bondsman has been convicted and sentenced for illegally soliciting clients from the Orange County Jail system, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Kenneth Hendrick, 50, of Mission Viejo pleaded guilty on Monday to 14 felony charges for setting up a network of informants inside Orange County jails to inform him of arrests. Hendrick also pleaded guilty to suggesting attorneys to an arrestee and for allowing a person not licensed as a bail agent to solicit bail on Hendrick’s behalf, Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon said.

According to the District Attorney’s Office:

• Between March 4, 2010, and Dec. 6, 2010, Hendrick made an agreement with 11 inmates in two Orange County jails, asking them to notify him when inmates needed bail.

•On June 29, 2010, Hendrick allowed an inmate to solicit bail on his behalf.

•In March and April 2010, while on the phone with an inmate and potential client, Hendrick suggested an attorney to the inmate on two occasions.

State law prohibits bail bonds agents from making arrangements with anyone in custody to be informed when people are arrested. It’s also illegal for bail agents to recommend attorneys or allow unlicensed bail agents to negotiate bail, Zimmon said.

Hendrick was sentenced to one year in jail and three years of formal probation. His bail agent license, which has been inactive since April, will be revoked by the state Department of Insurance, as a result of his conviction, Zimmon said.

Hendrick’s employer and manager, James Morris Jr., 50, pleaded guilty in June for also illegally soliciting clients from the Orange County Jail, Zimmon said.

Morris ran James Morris Bail Bonds in Santa Ana. He was found guilty of three felonies for paying an inmate on five occasions based on bail transactions between Oct. 9, 2009 and Feb. 18, 2010, Zimmon said. Morris put money into a jail account for the inmate as payment.

Morris was also found guilty on a felony charge of making an agreement with a person in jail to inform him of arrests. He was sentenced to six months in jail and three years of formal probation, and his license has been revoked, Zimmon said

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