Local News

Wake DA a witness in bail bondsman's trial

Posted July 6, 2015

— Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman has had to separate herself from a pending criminal trial because she is a key witness in the case.

Kenneth Vernon Golder II, 43, of 735 Obsidian Way in Durham, is charged with obtaining property by false pretenses, accessing a government computer, altering court records and a misdemeanor bail bond violation.

His trial was to start Monday but has been pushed back until next week because the defense attoney has a health issue.

Golder was one of four people indicted last year in an alleged scheme to allow bail bondsmen to get out of paying the court system when criminal defendants failed to appear in court. Authorities allege that the four falsified electronic court records in 307 cases between 2008 and 2013 to reflect that the bondsmen had paid bonds when they had not.

The discrepancies were first brought to the attention of prosecutors by Freeman, who was Wake County clerk of Superior Court at the time.

After consulting with the North Carolina State Bar, Freeman created a firewall between prosecutors handling the case and herself to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

Latoya Barnes, a former court clerk, was sentenced in May 2014 to two years on probation after pleading guilty in the case. James Perkins, a former bondsman from Knightdale, pleaded guilty in September and was sentenced to at least six months in prison and five years on probation and was ordered to pay $73,000 in restitution for his role in the scheme.

The case against former court clerk Kelvin Lawrence Ballentine is still pending.

Under state law, the revenue from forfeited bonds goes to local school districts, and authorities say the alleged scheme cost the Wake County Public School System $1.5 million.


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