Orange County District Attorney
Orange County District Attorney
FONT> Susan Schroeder
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
August 1, 2006
Public Affairs Counsel
(714) 347-8408 Office
(714) 323-4486 Cell
THIRD SUSPECT IN BAIL BOND SCHEME CASE CAPTURED IN MIAMI
*Co-defendants Cavallo and Castro awaiting trial in September
MIAMI, FL – The third suspect in a bail bond scheme case has been captured in Miami. Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) investigators found Alejandro de Jesus Cruz, 33, living in Miami and arrested him on a warrant. He was booked on the warrant in Dade County, Florida. He is expected to be in court tomorrow in Dade County and his bail is set for $25,000. The OCDA will seek extradition and a future court date in Orange County will be set.
An Irvine criminal defense attorney and two Orange County bail bond agents were indicted by the grand jury on Wednesday, October 5, 2005. Bail bonds people Jorge Andres Castro, 28, of Aliso Viejo, and Alejandro de Jesus Cruz, 33, were indicted on five felony counts. Attorney Joseph Gerard Cavallo, 50, was indicted on three felony counts. They are accused of being involved in an illegal bail bonds referral scheme. The first three felony counts involve the crime of attorney capping and attorney recommendation by a bail bonds agent. Cruz and Castro were also indicted with two additional counts of illegally soliciting bail clients in jail. If convicted of all charges, Cavallo faces a maximum of 3 years 8 months in state prison. Cruz and Castro face 5 years in state prison if convicted.
About counts 1 through 3, Cruz and Castro are accused of keeping a stack of Cavallo’s business cards at their business Xtreme Bail Bonds. Castro is accused of taking his employees to meet Cavallo and instructing them that they were to refer Xtreme’s clients to Cavallo. The employees had a sheet of “to-dos” including referring clients to Cavallo as part of their written instructions. The employees were told that they would get a bonus for referring bail clients to Cavallo. Cruz and Castro are accused of referring Cavallo as an attorney to bail clients and telling them they would get a discount from Cavallo because they were referred for legal services by Xtreme.
In some cases, they are accused of making appointments for the bail client to visit Cavallo, driving their cars to Cavallo’s law office after directing bail clients to follow them, or quoting Cavallo’s retainer price to bail clients. In one case, Castro is accused of telling a bail client that if he hired defendant Cavallo as his criminal defense lawyer, he would not have to spend any time in jail and would probably just get probation. They are accused of instructing bail clients to tell defendant Cavallo that they were referred to Cavallo by Xtreme Bail Bond. Cavallo is accused of telling bail clients that he was giving them a discount because they had used Xtreme Bail Bonds to get out of jail.
In August of 2004, defendant Cavallo is accused of transferring $50,000.00 to defendant Castro as an “interest free loan. “
About counts 4 and 5, Cruz and Castro are accused of rewarding inmate tank workers by arranging for three-way calls for people in custody or putting nominal money in the jail accounts. Cruz and Castro are also accused of illegally soliciting people in custody by looking up their names on public websites and contacting them in custody without being asked.
The law prohibits bail bonds workers from recommending any attorney to any bail bond client even if no money changed hands. The law also prohibits attorneys from paying non-lawyers for client referrals. There are laws regulating referrals in many different relationships to protect the consumer and the community from unscrupulous, secret dealings. The law is written to protect bail clients in the most vulnerable time of their lives. For these reasons, the law does not allow bail agents to exercise any influence over the choice of counsel.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh is prosecuting this case.