A former LAPD jailer and a couple who owned a bail bond company were charged with operating a “bail capping” scheme at the Van Nuys jail, prosecutors said Friday.
Leonard Ramirez, 44, who was a detention officer in the Van Nuys jail, allegedly gave William Aroutounian, 34, and his wife, Iryna McCormick, 33, emergency contact information for friends and family of people recently booked into the jail, prosecutors say.
The couple owned BBB Bail Bonds Company in Sherman Oaks.
After Ramirez would give the couple the inmate’s emergency contact information, the pair would then call that person and say that the inmate asked them to call so they could secure a bail bond to get the inmate out of jail, prosecutors claim. It’s illegal to proactively solicit inmates and their families, and the group’s scheme is called bail capping, prosecutors said.
After providing the information, Ramirez would meet Aroutounian in neighborhood alleys and Aroutounian would allegedly hand Ramirez money or drop it off in his car, authorities said.
The scheme was uncovered when an undercover police officer posing as a felony domestic abuse suspect listed another undercover officer as his emergency contact and Ramirez gave away the information.
Authorities believe the group was bail capping between September 2013 and November 2014.
Ramirez is charged with accepting a bribe, conspiracy to commit bail solicitation and bail solicitation. He has posted bail and is scheduled to be arraigned June 3. He faces up to four years and eight months in prison.
Aroutounian and McCormick were charged with conspiracy to commit bail solicitation and bail solicitation and face up to three years in state prison. They’re scheduled to be arraigned May 23.
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