Local News

Suspects in Wake bail bond scheme surrender to authorities

Posted February 25, 2014
Updated February 26, 2014

— With her attorney at her side, Latoya Barnes was the first of four indicted for cheating Wake County schools out of more than $1.5 million in unpaid bonds to turn herself in Tuesday.

And State Bureau of Investigation agents were waiting for her.

“She has worked with law enforcement and the SBI for months,” said Jesse Scharff, Barnes’ attorney.

Barnes, along with Kelvin Ballentine, are former Wake County court clerks charged with intentionally falsifying defendants' electronic court records in 307 cases to reflect that the bondsmen had paid when they had not. The cases stretch from January 2008 to July 2013.

A bail bondsman must pay the bond of a client when they do not show up to court. The money is then used for public education, as required by the state constitution.

Bondsmen James Perkins and Kenneth Golder II are also charged in the scheme.

All four turned themselves in Tuesday evening.

Authorities were notified of the payment irregularities in August through a tip.

Nearly 150 of the 307 cases involved have been resolved. Arrest orders have been issued in other cases.


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  • stokesbailbonds Feb 27, 2014

    Office inspections with audits of paperwork in bail agents offices by NCDOI wouldn't hurt a thing. It's already written in the statutes just not enforced.......Welcome at our places of business ANY TIME!

  • HeadsUp Feb 26, 2014

    View quoted thread

    A capable leader hires good managers and implements sound policies to prevent massive failures, partly by monitoring closely what is going on in the office. Unfortunately, Ms. Freeman, the elected Clerk of Court, does not seem to have taken care of business.

    Of course the alleged perpetrators should face justice, but that does not excuse the apparent mismanagement of the Clerk's Office. Somehow the perps were able to get away with their crimes FOR FIVE YEARS under Ms. Freeman's nose. Their crime spree is a failure not just of their morals and the county's finances, but also of Ms. Freeman's poor management.

    Where, if anywhere, does the buck stop in Ms. Freeman's office? And why in the world should we voters now give her a promotion to District Attorney?

  • dwr1964 Feb 26, 2014

    More government abuse of power and corruption. Who'd a thunk it?

  • notexactly Feb 26, 2014


    It don't matter how many are under her. If she is the one in charge ( Large salary) Then she is responsible for anything that goes on in her ranks. That is the way the world works. Just like if you owned your business and one of your employees did something wrong and cause your customers financial or bodily harm, You would be responsible as well as your employee! That's why lawyers are rich. The stand behind bushes waiting for a business to sue. Just part of doing business.

  • stymieindurham Feb 26, 2014

    I just hope there's some REAL active prison time here. Especially for the crooked bail bondsmen who devised this plan.

  • stymieindurham Feb 26, 2014

    One way or another, Freeman failed to prevent it.

    WAIT A MINUTE!!!!!!!! If I remember correctly I think WRAL said on TV last night Freeman has 160 employees under her. AND YOU THINK SHE CAN ACTUALLY CHECK BEHIND EACH ONE?!!!! Sounds like you're trying to deflect blame where it should go . . . . to the crooks!!!

  • anonemoose Feb 26, 2014

    "A bail bondsman must pay the bond of a client when they do not show up to court. The money is then used for public education, as required by the state constitution"

    Go sit in a session of forfeiture hearings and see how many (and how much $$$) gets set aside because the defendant that failed to appear was re-arrested within 30 days of the FTA. Many times the same bondsman that was on the original bond will stand the second one b/c they know the forfeiture will be set aside. Then go to the Sheriff's and look at how many property bonds are not being enforced because the Sheriff doesn't want to the bad press because they put out a 75 year old woman because she stood the bond for her grand child who failed to appear and she doesn't know the system like the bondsman.

  • A person Feb 26, 2014

    Freeman is a dem so why would anyone expect her to know what is going on?

  • TruDat Feb 26, 2014

    Now that we know that Lorrin Feeman ain't much of a manager, how much experience does she have as a criminal prosecutor?

    How many felony convictions has Freeman won? Has she ever even tried a felony case?

    The job of District Attorney in Wake, North Carolina's capital county, is a serious one requiring a leader with deep experience, good judgment, and strong managerial ability.

    Does Ms. Freeman have ANY of that??? Not from the news coverage I have seen.

    Surely we can do better, folks.

  • notexactly Feb 26, 2014

    another corrupt dem in our state. imagine that. freeman needs to go. Now where are all the dems demanding her head like they do to the reps?