Harris County bondsman calls out 'bad actors' offering deceptive, discount rates

As the trend of violent crime continues in Houston, as well as finger-pointing on who is responsible for the release of accused offenders, significant heat is being drawn internally.

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Mario Garza, who serves as president of the Professional Bondsmen of Harris County, appeared before Commissioners Court this week to call out an unscrupulous minority in his own industry, those who are offering to bond-out offenders at deeply discounted rates.

"Hell, next month we will be blaming the Easter Bunny!" Garza exclaimed. "The sad part about it is they are doing these bonds at such little percentage and then the very next day they are telling the people they owe the rest. That is a form of deceptive trade practice."

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Garza labels what is happening to unsuspecting customers as nothing short of a "rip-off"

"Their business model is churn 'em [sic] and burn ‘em [sic,]" he said.

Garza claims defendants released on these discount bonds learn quickly they've been snared in a bait and switch.

"Get them out, hit them with what they owe the next day," he said. "They are in a position of vulnerability. They are scared."

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He also says the "bad actors" in his industry amount to roughly 10 percent of the 80 bonding companies operating in Harris County.

"They don't want to go back, so they are going to go scramble to get all of this money that they weren't told they were going to owe two days before," Garza concluded.