(Phoenix, Ariz. – June 24, 2008) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that Nicole Galbraith, 24, of Mesa, was indicted on charges of fraud and theft related to her bail bonds business in Mesa and Tempe. Galbraith, owner of Quick Bail Bonds, was a licensed bail bond agent in Arizona until her license was revoked on March 11, 2008.
According to court documents, between Aug. 2006 and Dec. 2007, Galbraith accepted money from people seeking to post bail for family or friends. However, in a number of cases, Galbraith allegedly failed to post bail with the courts or posted surety bonds for the bail but did not tell the surety company that she issued bonds. In other cases, Galbraith posted surety bonds instead of posting the full amount of cash she received to cover the bail. Galbraith allegedly pocketed thousands of dollars and used the money for personal purposes. The indictment also alleges that Galbraith kept money that should have been returned to customers after the bonds were released by the courts.
Investigators also found Galbraith may have inappropriately sold collateral before a case was resolved. Bail bond agents can sell collateral at the end of a case to recover legitimate expenses, but the bail bond agent must return any excess proceeds.
Galbraith is charged with two counts of fraud, 10 counts of theft and one count of theft of means of transportation. If convicted of all charges, she faces up to 93 years in prison. Galbraith is scheduled to be arraigned on July 7 in Maricopa County Superior Court. This indictment is the result of an investigation conducted by the Arizona Department of Insurance. Assistant Attorney General Samantha Hodapp is prosecuting this case.
The Arizona Department of Insurance (DOI) and the Attorney General’s Office offer these tips when doing business with a bail bond agent:
- If you have the cash to post bail, you can often deal directly with the court and do not need to go through a bail bond agent.
- Bail bond agents must be licensed by DOI to sell bail bonds. Consumers can visit the DOI Website at http://app.az.gov/id/lookup/ to verify that a bail bond agent is properly licensed.
- There are restrictions on what a bail bond agent can and cannot do with customers’ collateral. Learn more about these restrictions by calling DOI at (602) 364-2499.