Credit Card Fraud…Mafia Style

Some people think: Credit card fraud? Oh heck no, not me. Have you ever used someone else’s card to make a purchase? Yeah, probably so. It’s harmless enough. Here’s how it goes: Your daughter is running up to the store to get some items and you say, “Here, use my card”. No problem right? Well it really doesn’t violate any state or Federal law but it probably does violate your contract with your credit card company but so what. Step across the line, go ahead. It’s not fraud as long as no fraud was committed or intended and that’s really up to the owner of the card.

TRUE STORY: Dan and Becky have been together for eight years. Every Monday and Thursday Dan would use Becky’s credit card to get gas in his car for his commute to work. Dan would also use the card for lunch or dinner from time to time. Becky happens to look at the credit card statement an notices there are often two lunches or dinners paid for on the same day. Can anyone guess what happens next? Becky starts her investigation. Every man knows that it is impossible to withstand a woman’s examination of the evidence and the cross examination of the days, dates, places and times that the dual dinners and lunches occurred. Eventually the truth comes out. Becky discovers that Dan has been having “lunch and “dinner” with co-worker, Ellen, and paying for it with her card. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. In the end Dan was charged with credit card fraud and obtaining money under false pretenses

ANOTHER TRUE STORY: Imagine a van loaded with credit card blanks, skimmers, cameras and three men from an Armenian crime crew. They were arrested in a Bank of America parking lot where they were parked. Their van was positioned so they had a clear view of the ATM so the camera could take close ups of pin numbers. The fraudsters would take turns standing in line so they could get close enough to skim the info on the card and they would match the pin and clean the account. The Bank of America teller noticed that the van had been there all morning and alerted his manager. Now imagine 100 of these Armenian crime crews throughout the United States doing their best to do their worst. Devastating. Honestly, I think if any of us think long enough and hard enough about how to commit fraud we could probably come up with a 100 ways to do it. Just remember this: There are 101 ways to get caught.

Drivers License and Registration Please…

So… most of us know what happens when you get pulled over by the police for a traffic stop. You pull over, hands at 10 and 2 on the wheel, window down and follow the officer’s directions. It usually goes like this: Officer: May I see your drivers license and registration please? You give the officer the documents and the officer lets you know why they stopped you. Speeding, broken tail light, dead inspection sticker, dead tag and so on. Get your ticket and move on. Makes sense to me. Some people think it’s a good idea to do this:

Officer: May I see your drivers license and registration please? Driver: I ain’t showing you shit! Why did you pull me over? You got no right to ask me for nothin and I ain’t giving you shit! Now …somebody please tell me the wisdom in this strategy of interacting with a law enforcement officer. I’m sure you have seen the body cams of officers dealing with a non-compliant person refusing to cooperate. It NEVER ends well for the driver…NEVER. I recently had a Mother explain to me that her daughter was dragged from her vehicle and arrested during on of these routine traffic stops. I asked her to tell me what happened…Mom said that her daughter “didn’t do nothin” She got pulled over and wouldn’t give the police her license. I asked her why. She said, “because she didn’t do nothin”. I made the comment that she was lucky that it didn’t escalate into a shooting. She said, “You got that right”. I said, “What would have happened if she would have reached under her seat for some reason or opened her glove compartment? Mom just kept telling me that “she didn’t do nothin”. I kinda knew where this was going next, and sure enough there it was. “The police would have never even stopped her if she wasn’t black”. I explained to MOM that her daughter was charged with reckless driving, 65 MPH in a 35 MPH and that speeding could have been the reason she was stopped. I went on to explain her other charges: Obstruction of Justice, Failure to Obey a Law Enforcement Command, Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer (Felony) and that the Magistrate gave her a $10,000 bond. In the end the daughter went to video arraignment in Prince William County Virginia where the Judge released her on her personal recognizance. (So much for accountability.) I had true compassion for Mom, I made the comment that, “When our children get cut, we are the ones that bleed”. Mom nodded her head in agreement. All in all we had a good conversation. I asked Mom this question: “Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently if the same thing happened to you?” Moms answer? “Shit, I would have given him my license and been on about my business”. Good job MOM! I like that lyric from Crosby, Stills and Nash…”Teach Your Children Well…”

I would love to hear your opinion about this episode of 101 Ways to Get Arrested.

Ah Man…These Ain’t Even My Pants

I am often surprised by the cunning and creativity of people that get arrested. I mean after all, it takes effort to think of the crime you intend to commit and plan for the execution, find someone to help you and try to get away with it without being caught. We all know someone like this right? Sounds like this: “Man if he put the same effort and thought process into something legal, he could become a millionaire.” Well the other night I heard something that made me shake my head and laugh out loud. A police officer was questioning this guy who was attempting to bond his friend out of jail. After running the guys social and DOB, the officer let him know there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest for failing to appear. The guy was cooperative but was telling the officer that he in fact did not miss court and that there must be some mistake. “Are you sure you ran my name?” “Did you run the right social cause I’m clean man, I shouldn’t have nothin out there on me!” The officer was cordial and explained that if a mistake was made it will get worked out in court but since it’s a live warrant he would need to take him into custody. Officer: “I’m going to need to search you real quick. Do you have anything sharp in your pockets, anything that will hurt me?” Offender: “Naw man I ain’t got nothin on me.” The Officer patted the guy down and checked his pockets and there in his right front pocket was the corner of a sandwich bag filled with white powder. Officer: “What is this?” Offender: “What is what?” Officer: “This.” The officer pointed to the little white bag of powder he took from his pockets and placed on the hood of his cruiser. Offender: “You got that from my pocket?” Officer: “Yep.” Offender: “Man you didn’t get that from my pocket.” Officer: “Yeah man, I just pulled this out of your pocket with your keys and everything else you had in your pants pocket and put it right here on the hood.” Offender: “You found that in my pocket?” The officer nodded his head. “Yep right in the pocket of your pants.”

Offender: “Awe man, you know what? These ain’t even my pants.” The officer tried to hold back his grin but just couldn’t keep a straight face. Officer: “These aren’t your pants?” Offender: “Man I must have grabbed the wrong pants when I got dressed this morning.” Officer: “Yes you did son, yes you did”. I was impressed by the way this guy made an attempt to think on his feet. Although flawed, he must operate with the mantra “If you ain’t lying you ain’t trying.” Certainly, here’s what I’ve discovered: Intelligent people can do some really dumb things.

Expert in the Art of Lying

Have you ever heard the saying “They cant tell the truth to save their life”. You probably know someone who is known as a pathological liar. Nobody has the story weaving, tall tale telling, stuffing the skin of the truth with a lie thing down better than an addict. Sounds like this: ”Mom the reason I keep getting arrested for driving on a suspended license is because I can’t afford to pay the fines to get it reinstated”… “Well I was working but I can’t risk driving because I don’t want to get another driving on suspended.” This makes sense and because you love your child, regardless of their age, and because their reasoning sounds so logical you give them the money to get their license drama straightened out. Then this happens: Well I went to the court to pay my fines but the court was closed because of COVID and my roommate didn’t have their part of the rent so I had to pay his portion of the rent because we can’t lose our place to live but when he gets paid he’s going to pay me back…

It’s always something right? Here’s the truth. Heroin addicts become expert in manipulating the people who are most likely to produce the money required to purchase the drug that prevents them from the “dope sick” withdrawal that awaits them if they can not get their fix. This is a hard truth to comprehend, especially difficult if the person is your son or daughter. The person that you would certainly give your life for if it came down to them or you. For many of my clients truth is a matter of life and death.

THE CLEANSING EFFECT OF TRUTH TELLING

We have all heard the saying “The Truth Will Set You Free”. Many of us don’t actually know where it comes from. The Gospel of John Chapter 8-32. Basically, Jesus said, If you stick to my words and live them out, you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free. I know this! I believe this! But why do I still lie? I’m pretty good at it too. I lied at BOGANGLES. I was talking to my wife on the phone waiting in the drive through to place an order. Here is how it went down. Wife: “Whatcha doing?” Me: “I’m at Bojangles getting a salad.” Wife: “Oh, I’ve never had a salad at Bojangles.” Me: “They’re good, well I’ll see you when I get home.” Wife: “Ok goodbye.” Me: “Bye.” Drive through attendant: “Here you are Sir, 2 Chicken breasts and a thigh and a medium Diet Coke.”

BUSTED!

Now I thought I’d hung up the phone but my wife was still on the line. She said: “Hello? That’s an interesting salad.” BUSTED! I laughed it off, actually we both did, but why? Why did I lie? Shame is the only thing I can think of. Salad sounds a lot better than fried chicken, even If I took the skin off. OK, most of it. Here is the take away. Tell the truth. Even in the small things. There is nothing I could tell my wife that would make her not love me. Knowing the truth and telling the truth puts our relationships on common ground. We know where we stand. This is going to sound a little preachy, because it is: JESUS said: I am the Way, The TRUTH and the Life. Allow me to translate. The Way you should go, the Truth you should know and the Life everlasting. GOD BLESS THE TRUTH TELLERS!

Hey Man…Can You Give Me a Ride?

Here’s the story…a friend of a friend asks you to give him a ride to the store. He’s really not your friend but you know him. He seems ok, after all he’s known one of your friends for a while. You say “sure” of course you’ll give a guy a ride to the store. Seems harmless right? You take him to the store, the convenience store on the corner. He says, “You want anything?” You say “no I’m good”. He goes into the store and comes back in about 10 minutes. You say “we good?” He says “yeah, take a right and step on it! You say ”Step on it?” What do you mean? He says “MAN STEP ON IT! He’s agitated… Suddenly Blue Lights behind you, Blue Lights on side streets, and you think you hear a helicopter above you. The next thing you hear are commands from a Police loud speaker telling you to put your hands out the window. Police officers approach your car, guns drawn while you new friend stuffs a brown paper bag under his seat. As you are being violently removed from your vehicle and placed on the ground, knee in the neck, it dawns on you…you are the get-a-way car in an armed robbery. Now this sounds far fetched but it is an absolutely TRUE STORY. When I met the get-a-way driver he was in tears. I had just posted his bond and as he walked out of the release door he all but fell into my arms. I tried to comfort him by telling him that he is just accused of the crime and that he is presumed innocent until the court can prove he’s guilty but it was like he already knew. That prosecutor was going to do everything in his power to convict him. After all, that’s his job. The more convictions he wins the more successful he is. That is the way our judicial system is wired. You know, this could really happen to anybody. As you reflect on this remember what your Mother said. “Don’t hang around the wrong people”. Better yet read Proverbs One and apply it to your life. Peace.

Feels Like… I’m in a Wack a Mole Game!

Jerry stopped at the “Neon Sign“ on the way home from work. It’s a social thing, not a “I need a drink or I’ll die thing.” Just a couple of beers after work, harmless right? Jerry ordered a club sandwich and a Budweiser, chatted it up with the bartender, bought one of his buddies a beer and his buddy returned the favor. Forty five minutes and three beers later the social event was over. Jerry says goodbye to his bar room buddies and heads to the parking lot. Now here’s the thing, Jerry wasn’t drunk. Matter of fact you don’t have to be drunk to get a DWI. Three beers in 45 minutes depending on your body weight and how your body processes alcohol can result in a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 percent, over the legal limit here in the State of Virginia and Jerry is under arrest for DWI. I met Jerry when I posted his $1000 bond. His story is very similar to my story except: I never got caught. Now Jerry had a court date where he was convicted of DWI. He paid his fine, he received five days in jail which the Judge suspended, he had to complete a VASAP program and he was put on 3 years good behavior. He survived right? Not so fast. Jerry paid the $400.00 for the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) and attended all of the classes except the last one, he had to work. Jerry was charged with another jail-able offense: Failure to comply with VASAP 18.2-271.1 Jerry was arrested again. Jerry was released on his personal recognizance and paid for yet another VASAP class. Whew finally the whole DWI ordeal was over…Not so fast. Remember the three years of good behavior probation? Yep, that’s right, Jerry was arrested for violation of probation because he missed that VASAP class. Every time Jerry would try to do the right thing and lift up his head to recover from his DWI the justice system would descend upon him once again. Jerry said, “I feel like I’m in a daggone Whack-a-Mole Game and I’m the one getting whacked!” “Every time I think it’s over, here they come again!”

Here is the irony: Virginia owns all of the liquor stores here in Virginia. In 2020 they had sales of 1.2 BILLION DOLLARS! Oh did I put that in all caps? That’s a lot of booze for the little ole’ State of Virginny…Kind of unholy Eh? First they sell it to us and then they stick it to us for drinking it…and driving of course. Bail Bonds VA has resources for Jerry! Celebrate Recovery is a 12 step faith based program for people with hurts, habits and hang ups. It’s FREE and it’s helped thousands of people like Jerry get through our judicial system.

Chicago, City of Murder and Mayhem Ends Cash Bail…Brilliant!

Here’s the lie. Rich people get out of jail, poor people stay in jail.

Most of us have never been arrested. Most of us have never spent even a day in jail. But… those of us who have know this. When you are in jail you have no money, nothing, notta… The jail holds ALL of your belongings in “property” – property that you have no access to. The richest man in town and the poorest man in town are exactly the same in jail. Both are penniless, broke, indigent. Neither of them can bail themselves out. The only assets they have are family and friends. As many of you know, even if you are gainfully employed coming up with $1000 dollars to help a loved one who had one too many at the bar is challenging, especially in the middle of the night. Bail is a Constitutional right. The 8th Amendment states that Bail will not be excessive, however, lets get real. If you don’t have $20 dollars, $15 dollars is excessive. Bail Bondsmen are licensed with the Department of Criminal Justice Services. They are sureties regulated by the Bureau of Insurance and are willing to take on the fiduciary responsibilities for citizens who can not afford to post bail and they do it for a fraction of the cost. The bondsman also guarantees that the offender will show up to every single court date until the case is adjudicated. Bail is set by the judge, not the bail bondsman. Just a little research on this subject will reveal that no one actually stays in jail because they can’t afford to post bond. (Remember they can’t post it anyway.) Many people remain in jail because the family feels it is better and safer for them to be incarcerated until their court date. If your son or daughter is addicted to heroin, better jail than the graveyard. If Mom says no…it’s NO! Many progressives are beginning to think that Bail Bondsmen are actually the answer to judicial reform. Here’s why. Most Bail Agents bring resources that provide intervention for the offender and their families. These resources fit the crime. An introduction to Celebrate Recovery for people who suffer from Hurts, Habits and Hangups. Addiction therapy through the Coleman Institute or Pastoral Counseling for family assault offenders. Imagine offering intervention at the jail house door 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Imagine making resource management training part of the bi-annual continuing education requirement for bondsmen. The cash bail system saves lives. Families get involved with the release of their loved ones. The alternative is to hold people in jail or release offenders to government programs without family awareness and support, which amounts to pre-conviction probation. Remember this old adage: “We are from the Government and we are here to help.” Keep the private option for offender release available. It’s the right thing to do.

Assault and Pepper Spray

Have you ever been in an argument with your loved one? It’s a question I already know the answer to. Have you ever gotten so upset that you just want to leave, get in your car or walk down the road and be anywhere but here? Of course you have. But what if the argument escalates and say for instance your wife or girlfriend wants to see your phone and grabs it out of your hand or you demand to see your husband’s phone and while looking at it you see the text messages from some girl he met on facebook. You are so angry and hurt that you throw the phone up against the wall, the screen shatters, your relationship shatters, and then, overwhelmed with anger you scream as loud as you can, “GET OUT! WE ARE THROUGH!” Knock at the door. Two police officers in full regalia stand in the doorway and inform you that they are responding to a social disturbance call and ask you if everything is alright. You respond: Yes officer everything is fine, we just had an argument. Officer number one: “How did you get that scratch on your face?” You respond “Oh I didn’t realize I had a scratch, must have happened when my wife was trying to grab my phone.” Officer number two: “Is your wife here?” You respond “Yes, She’s here, come on in.” What happens next is a well told story that some of you already know. The officers separate the combatants and conduct interviews. The wife tells her side of the story, how she found out you were cheating on her because of the texts on your phone. You tell the officers how she is really jealous and wanted to see your phone and how she was upset because she saw some texts and how… Officer number two: “Where is the phone?” Is this it?” The officer holds up the cell phone with the smashed screen. You say, “Yep, that’s it.” Officer number one says “Do you want to press charges?” You say “No, of course not.” Officer number two asks your wife to turn around and put her hands behind her back. This is where things get crazy. See, the officer has found enough evidence to charge your wife with assault on a family member, because of the scratch on your face…your testimony. Also, destruction of property, her testimony and physical evidence. Your wife, already furious, goes to the next level of rage. Absolutely unfair! You are the one cheating, She gets arrested. Seeing your wife unjustly arrested and now being restrained is too much for you too handle. You attempt to intervene by pulling your wife away from the officer and pleading with the officer to release her. Suddenly, you are blinded by the most intense burning sensation you ever experienced…Pepper Spray. You find yourself on the floor handcuffed, in custody, charged with obstruction of justice. Better call a Bondsman.

This is a true story and similar to dozens of stories I’ve heard in the past. I would love to hear your story. I look forward to reading your comments.

Abolishing Compensated Surety (Translation) Outlawing Bail Bonds

There is a concerted and coordinated effort to outlaw private bail in the United States. Here is the false narrative: Cash bail leads to a two-tiered justice system – one for the rich and one for everyone else. Those who sit behind bars while awaiting trial are exposed to significant collateral consequences, like the loss of a job or even custody of their children. What’s more, these impacts are disproportionately experienced by people of color. First of all, people do not get arrested and go to jail simply because of the color of their skin. People get arrested because THEY BROKE THE LAW. When you are arrested, you are accused of a crime. The 5th and 14th Amendments of the Constitution Of The United States guarantee the right to due process…the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The 8th Amendment of the Constitution provides a limit to bail, that it will not be excessive. Most of us have never been arrested. Most of us have never spent even a day in jail. But… those of us who have know this. When you are in jail you have no money, nothing, notta. The jail holds ALL of your belongings in “property” – property that you have no access to. The richest man in town and the poorest man in town are exactly the same in jail. Both are penniless, broke, indigent. Neither of them can bail themselves out. The only assets they have are family and friends. As many of you know, even if you are gainfully employed coming up with $1000 dollars to help a loved one who had one too many at the bar is challenging, especially in the middle of the night. Bail is a Constitutional right. Remember? The 8th Amendment states that Bail will not be excessive, however, lets get real. If you don’t have $20 dollars, $15 dollars is excessive. Bail Bondsmen are licensed with the Department of Criminal Justice Services. They are sureties regulated by the Bureau of Insurance and are willing to take on the fiduciary responsibilities for citizens who can not afford to post bail and they do it for a fraction of the cost. The bondsman also guarantees that the offender will show up to every single court date until the case is adjudicated. Bail is set by the judge, not the bail bondsman. Just a little research on this subject will reveal that no one actually stays in jail because they can’t afford to post bond. (Remember they can’t post it anyway.) Many people remain in jail because the family feels it is better and safer for them to be incarcerated until their court date. If your son or daughter is addicted to heroin, better jail than the graveyard. If Mom says no…it’s NO! Many progressives are beginning to think that Bail Bondsmen are actually the answer to judicial reform. Here’s why. Most Bail Agents bring resources that provide intervention for the offender and their families. These resources fit the crime. An introduction to Celebrate Recovery for people who suffer from Hurts, Habits and Hang-ups. Addiction therapy through the Coleman Institute or Pastoral Counseling for family assault offenders and alcohol monitoring. Imagine offering intervention at the jail house door 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Imagine making resource management training part of the bi-annual continuing education requirement for bondsmen. The cash bail system saves lives. Families get involved with the release of their loved ones. The alternative is to hold people in jail or release offenders to government programs without family awareness and support, which amounts to pre-conviction probation. Remember this old adage: “We are from the Government and we are here to help.” Keep the private option for offender release available. It’s the right thing to do. Don’t Outlaw Freedom.

You Looking at Me?

Sounds funny now right? As some of you know, back in the day those were fighting words. Johnny is sitting with his friends down at the skating rink. Some guy across the rink is giving him the ‘you wanna piece of me‘ stare and then a hard brush on the shoulder and it was on. Fist fight in the parking lot. Most people gathered around to watch the fight until one of you started getting the worst of it and somebody would step in and break it up. Black eye, bloody lip and a chipped tooth was all you lost but your macho pride was intact. Here‘s what happens these days: Police are called to the scene, The guy with the black eye says he fell down and hurt his eye, the guy with the bloody lip and the chipped tooth doesn’t want to press charges but the crowd, yes the crowd lets go the “Tale of the Tape” and tells the entire story from beginning to end. Police: “Who hit who first?’ Crowd: “Well that guy over there said something to that guy over there and then that guy over there punched that guy over there and then they started fighting and then…Well… you get the picture. Here is today’s reality. The guy who hit first gets charged with assault. If he was the guy who administered the bloody lip he could very well get charged with malicious wounding. 18.2-51 Virginia law on malicious wounding can be summarized as: any person who maliciously shoots, stabs, cuts, or wounds any person, or, by any means causing him bodily injury with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill, then he can charged with a class 6 felony. If you draw blood in a fight that’s enough to get charged with malicious wounding. Here is some more bad news. Malicious wounding is a presumption charge, it presumes that you are NOT eligible for bond and you are held without. That’s right! Hire an attorney to file a motion for a bail hearing and spend about a week in jail praying you get a bond. What would have been a scuffle in the parking lot a few years ago now turns in to a felony charge with some serious consequences. Remember what Matthew recounted in Matthew 5:38-40? It’s the place where Jesus says that if someone slaps you upside the head let them slap you on the other side as well. It’s really good and applicable instructions on how NOT to get arrested.