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Bail Bond Operators Arrested

September 16, 2004|H.G. Reza | Times Staff Writer

A family that operated a bail bond agency that represented high-risk offenders was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of embezzlement, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy.

Adnan "Dan" Yousef, who is listed in an ad as owner of American Liberty Bail Bonds in Whittier, was arrested at his office, and his wife and three sons were picked up at their La Habra home, said Fullerton police spokesman Steve Matson.

Members of a task force said it appeared the firm offered discounts for those arrested and then forced them to provide services for the company. Police said it appeared others were forced to become clients.

Yousef, 55, is being held on $5-million bail. His wife, Rayka, 58, is being held on a federal warrant; charges against her were unknown. Ameer Yousef, 19, was held on $1-million bail; bail for his brothers, Tarek, 20, and Monther, 18, was set at $100,000 and $750,000, respectively.

Fullerton police became suspicious of the company more than a year ago when detectives noticed the agency guaranteed high bail amounts for repeat offenders with little or no assets, Matson said. "We were seeing repeat offenders bailing out on $100,000 and $200,000 bail. We knew these guys had no means of support and no collateral. We also knew that legitimate bail companies would never bail out these felons, because they were high flight risks."

Under state licensing agreements, bail agencies are required to collect 10% of a person's bail. An agency keeps the money it collects in exchange for guaranteeing the defendant will show up in court. Some of the people bailed out by Yousef's agency told detectives they made bail after posting $100 or $200, not 10%.

Also arrested Wednesday was Richard Watson Jr., 38, of La Habra. Police called him "a thug enforcer" allegedly used by Yousef.

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