A prominent Riverside County bail officer has been arrested and charged with 14 counts of perjury and preparing false records for a fraudulent scheme that allegedly cost county courts half a million dollars.
Fausto Atilano, owner of Fausto’s Bail Bonds, a Murrieta bonding firm with offices throughout Southern California, was arrested Friday and is being held at the Cois M. Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta, prison records show. .
The California Department of Insurance, which regulates the surety bond industry in California, investigated Atilano, 60, for allegations that he prepared false evidence and falsified court records related to forfeited bonds.
The department reported on Friday that its investigation revealed that Atilano orchestrated a scheme in which he filed court documents claiming he apprehended fugitives in Mexico in order to exonerate the bonds his company was required to pay in court. . The department says it asked collaborators in Mexico to photograph people claiming to be the fugitives. The department said interviews with defendants later revealed they were never located in Mexico.
The falsified documents, the department said, prevented Riverside County Superior Court from collecting more than $528,000 in bail payments. The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office’s motion to keep Atilano in jail until a hearing on whether he could post bail without using the money he allegedly stole was granted. He is due to appear in court in July.
Christopher Damien covers public safety and the criminal justice system. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at @chris_a_damien.
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Riverside County bail officer charged with 14 felonies for bail fraud.