Ronald Lee Brockway Pleads Guilty to Bail Bond Scam That Already Took Down Carona Crony Joe Cavallo

Categories: Crime-iny
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Ronald Lee Brockway
A 51-year-old Seal Beach bail bondsman tied to ex-Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona's corrupt inner circle was convicted and sentenced to jail time Thursday for his role in an illegal bail-bond-referral scheme that handed Orange County Jail inmates business cards that read, "Get out of jail today by calling now!"

It is illegal for jailers to allow or attorneys and bail agents to participate in the solicitation of business behind bars. Just ask Joseph G. Cavallo, another Carona crony and rabid-attack-dog attorney who shamelessly defended gang rapist and son of an ex-assistant sheriff Gregory Scott Haidl.

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Carona, wife Debbie and Cavallo (right).
After a grand-jury hearing that included testimony from Respect Bail Bond's Ronald Lee Brockway, Cavallo pleaded guilty in October 2007 to being embroiled in an illegal bail-bonds conspiracy. Cavallo was sentenced to six months in jail.

But Brockway also damned himself with the testimony, leading to his guilty plea Thursday to two misdemeanor counts of violating bail-license regulations.

He was sentenced to a year in jail and three years of probation. Brockway is also barred from practicing as a bail-bond agent for six months.

The Orange County district attorney's office, which had filed felony charges against Brockway, objected to the court reducing the counts to misdemeanors.

The OCDA statement on the conviction follows:

January 27, 2011

BAIL BOND AGENT SENTENCED FOR ILLEGAL REFERRAL SCHEME FOR SOLICITING ATTORNEYS AND INMATES
*Defendant testified to the Grand Jury in 2005 regarding a similar referral scheme case involving attorney Joseph Cavallo

SANTA ANA - A bail bond agent was sentenced today after being convicted of soliciting attorney referrals and inmate business in an illegal bail bond referral scheme. Ronald Lee Brockway, 51, Seal Beach, pleaded guilty to the court to two misdemeanor counts of violating bail license regulations and was sentenced to one year in jail, three years of formal probation, and is barred from practicing bail bonds for six months. The charges were filed as felonies and the People objected to the reduction of the counts to misdemeanors.

California law prohibits bail bond employees from soliciting bail business from any inmate or incarcerated person. The law also prohibits bail bond employees from recommending any attorney to any bail bond client, even if no money changes hands.  Attorneys are similarly prohibited from paying non-lawyers for client referrals.  These regulatory laws do not allow bail agents to exercise any influence over the choice of counsel in order protect the consumer and the community from unscrupulous, secret dealings.  The law also protects inmates from undue influence during a vulnerable, difficult time in their lives.

Brockway sent numerous e-mails to attorneys soliciting them to participate in an illegal bail bond scheme with his company, Respect Bail Bond. In his messages, Brockway suggested that the attorneys refer bail bond business to him and offered to refer clients to the attorneys in order to "increase both of our earnings substantially." On at least one occasion, Brockway referred an attorney by name and phone number to a bail bond client.

Brockway also unlawfully solicited business from inmates by mass mailing flyers to the Orange County jail containing the name of and contact information for Respect Bail Bond. The flyers read, "Get out of jail today by calling now!"

Brockway knew that his referral and solicitation schemes were illegal based on his prior experience with illegal client referrals. In October 2005, Brockway testified in a Grand Jury hearing that he had received cash payments from attorney Joseph Cavallo in exchange for referring arrestees to Cavallo's law practice for representation. Brockway was not prosecuted in that case because his testimony was needed in the prosecution of more culpable defendants. Cavallo was indicted based partly on Brockway's testimony. Cavallo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in attorney capping and an illegal attorney referral scheme on Oct. 12, 2007, and was sentenced to six months in jail on Dec. 14, 2007.

The Orange County District Attorney's Office (OCDA) Bureau of Investigation began investigating this case after a private attorney contacted the OCDA to report receiving the e-mail from Brockway regarding the illegal referral scheme. The defendant was arrested by OCDA Investigators July 1, 2010.

Deputy District Attorney Lynda Fernandez of the Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted this case.
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7 comments
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Baron
Baron

Unfortunately, the bail bonds industry seems to have a disproportionate share of undesirables.  That's not uniform, of course; it's just an observation.

Sean
Sean

Its unfortunate that things like this happen. There are bad apples in every bunch and we are not absent of it. We thank our district attorney and our sheriff for investigating and prosecuting these types of cases. 

orange county bail bonds
orange county bail bonds

Hey that's really a great post and a wonderful description out here, I really like the way things are being executed and discussed here. 

orange county bail bonds
orange county bail bonds

As a bail bonds company operating in and around the OC, we fight daily with keeping our operations morally and ethically correct. Our daily operations find local lawyers and bail bondsmen not doing the same and its tough to keep a good positive direction in business when you see legitimate business obtained illegally by these characters. We fully appreciate the justice system when we read about cases such as this. Our problem with the verdict in this instance is the determination of not be able to operate as a bail bondsman for 6 months. This is wrong. The penalty for breaking the law in the bail bond's world should be that the criminal should lose their bail license for good. Especially since this was completely premeditated and the crime went on and on, we feel that the license should be taken away and the company and all the bail agents operating within that company should have their licenses revoked. Why? They'll just do it again, because they probably don't feel like they even broke the law, meaning that their decision making capabilities is skewed and wrong.

Ric Hard
Ric Hard

In a county with such a large surplus of money to go around it's nice to see our tax dollars being spent on trials of this nature. Way to go O.C. You truly got another detriment to society off the streets... Oh and Matt Coker...my understanding is that this person got sentenced to home confinement per yahoo local news (not jail)....way to get the facts right!

Strum
Strum

There is so much corruption in Law Enforcement. To think that corruption is isolated to Carona only is being foolish. Its spread wide in Police Work

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