A 38-year-old Burbank man was sentenced Friday to one year in jail for allegedly soliciting Orange County jail inmates as bail clients, authorities said.
Ernesto Perez, an unlicensed bail bondsman, was convicted after pleading guilty to six felony counts of negotiating bail without a license for his role in the illegal scheme, according to the Orange County District Attorney. Perez was also ordered to three years of probation.
Perez, who worked at Plotkin Bail Bonds in Norwalk, allegedly used a license number belonging to a legitimate bail bondsman from Bakersfield to access the county jail database to look up an inmate’s bail information. The database is only accessible to licensed bondsman.
Six inmates who are also codefendants worked with Perez between August 2010 and March 2011 while they were in custody at the Orange County jail, according to the district attorney.
Perez allegedly devised a scheme with the inmates to ask other jail inmates to contact him to post their bail.
Perez paid the bail bond employees for the deals by posting money into their jail accounts, authorities said.
Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies began investigating Perez and the inmates after listening to hundreds of phone calls between them about the scheme, authorities said.