ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY PRESS RELEASE
Case # 15CF0025
February 25, 2015
SANTA ANA – A bounty hunter who was featured on a reality show was arrested today and will be arraigned for embezzling over $18,000 in connection with a bail bond transaction. Arturo Alfred Torres, 52, Winnetka, is charged with one felony count of grand theft by embezzlement. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of three years in Orange County jail and is expected to be arraigned this week, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time and date are to be determined.
Torres had previously appeared on the television reality show “Bounty Wars” on the Discovery Channel as a bounty hunter.
On Feb. 8, 2013, Joan S.’ son was arrested and booked in the Los Angeles County jail and held on $20,000 bail. She contacted a bail bonds company and consequently met Torres. Torres, along with a bail agent, is accused of going to Los Angeles County jail, bailing out Joan S.’ son, and then driving him to his mother’s home in Orange County. While meeting with Joan S., Torres is accused of asking for a $20,000 check made out to him personally. Torres is accused of collecting the check from the victim and cashing it into his personal checking account.
No charges were filed against Joan S.’ son and on March 21, 2013, his bail was exonerated. Torres is accused of refusing to return the money to Joan S. despite the victim’s numerous attempts to have it returned.
When an arrestee is in jail with a bail amount set, there are generally two options available to be released from custody. The first option is to post the full amount of the bail with the jail. As long as the arrestee makes all future court appearances and does not violate any bail conditions, he will receive the entire bail amount back once the case is resolved and bail is exonerated. The second option is to contact a bail bond company to post the bail for an arrestee. A bail bond company will charge a premium, a percentage of the full amount, to post the full amount of the bond and have the arrestee released. As long as the arrestee makes all future court appearances and does not violate any bail conditions, the bond company will receive the full amount of the bond back once the case is concluded and bail is exonerated. The bond company keeps the premium paid by the customer as its profit. In this case, Torres might have been eligible to keep a percentage of the bail amount and is accused of embezzling $18,000.
On Feb. 13, 2014, the victim reported the theft to the California Department of Insurance (CDI), who investigated the case. Today, Feb. 25, 2015, Torres was arrested at his home in Winnetka.
“Torres’ alleged theft of more than $18,000 from an innocent victim is reprehensible,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “Licensed bail agents and bounty hunters have an obligation to follow the letter of the law and I will bring to justice those that do not.”
Senior Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.
TONY RACKAUCKAS, District Attorney
Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff