Modesto bail extortion bust results in plea deal
News: 2014 Press Release
MODESTO, Calif. -Janelle Marie Llorens, 30, pleaded no contest in Stanislaus Superior Court to a charge of felony conspiracy to commit grand theft over $200,000.
"While there are still more individuals to be tried and prosecuted, it is good to know that this individual has been brought to justice," said Commissioner Jones. "I remain committed to collaborating with district attorneys to protect California consumers from criminals who profit from ripping off consumers."
Llorens was employed as the office manager at AJ's Bail Bonds in Modesto, CA. The department's investigation revealed that from 2006 to 2010, Aleo John "AJ" Pontillo, 43, Llorens, and Mark Davis, 52, conspired to defraud the County of Stanislaus out of bail forfeiture money. Pontillo, Llorens, and Davis used schemes to circumvent the bail bond forfeiture process in Stanislaus Superior Court by falsely representing that a bail fugitive had been apprehended, or that the court had failed to notify the business as required by law. This resulted in Stanislaus County being defrauded out of payment for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bail bond forfeiture funds.
Under a plea deal, Llorens agreed to testify against her co-defendants Pontillo and Davis, and agreed to pay $409,500 in restitution, serve three years on felony probation, and serve no more than 180 days in county jail.
The investigation revealed that Llorens' ploy allowed AJ's Bail Bonds to avoid bail bond forfeiture payments rightfully owed to Stanislaus County. In order to force payment, bail defendants were allegedly apprehended, handcuffed, and transported to the bond office, where they were held and threatened with subsequent jail time if they did not provide a bail bond premium payment.
Llorens will be sentenced after the conclusion of criminal proceedings involving Pontillo and Davis. Pontillo's trial is tentatively scheduled for July 28, 2014.
- September 15, 2011 press release announcing arrest.
- License status of Janelle Marie Llorens, #1843769.
- The Department of Insurance licenses Bail Agents to transact bail within the State of California. As part of pre-licensing and continuing education, bail agents are educated on the various aspects of bail laws, including ethics and the proper collection of debts owed.
- The California Fair Debt Collection Act provides standards for honest and fair debt collection practices.
Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at www.insurance.ca.gov via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.