Wake schools go to court and recover $1.2 million from illegal bail bond scheme

Getty Images/Wavebreak Media

The Wake County school system has now recovered more than $1.2 million dollars in lost revenue from a bail bond scheme that had sought to defraud the public.

A criminal investigation had determined that some Wake County court clerks had conspired with bail bondsmen to alter records in more than 300 cases between 2008 and 2013, The News & Observer previously reported. During that time period, more than $1 million in bond forfeiture money didn’t go to the school system as is required under state law.

After years of lawsuits, the Wake County school board announced Tuesday it had closed all the cases and recovered $1.24 million. The latest settlement was with six insurance companies who agreed to pay $842,500.

During a trial, a Wake County clerk implicated in the case described a scheme in which he received cash from bondsmen — sometimes in increments of $1,000, sometimes $500 — to change the records so they reflected that money due to the courts and the schools had been paid.

Two clerks and two bondsmen were ultimately sentenced for their roles in the scheme. One of the accused bondsmen was acquitted.

The Wake school system filed motions in each individual bond case to try to recover the money. The lawsuits were filed against the insurance companies that the bondsmen contracted with.

Six insurance companies responded in late 2016 by filing a lawsuit against the school system, arguing they shouldn’t be held responsible for a scheme they were unaware of until after the fact.

Wake won at the trial court level with the insurance companies appealing. But during mediation, the insurance companies agreed to pay the $842,500 to settle all claims, according to Rod Malone, the school board’s attorney.