Former Knightdale bondsman pleads guilty to altering court records
Posted September 22, 2014 4:05 p.m. EDT
Updated September 22, 2014 7:28 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Former Knightdale bondsman James Perkins, 42, pleaded guilty Monday to altering courts records and was sentenced to a minimum of six months in prison and five years' probation.
He also pleaded guilty to accessing a government computer and misdemeanor bail bond violation. He has agreed to pay $73,000 in restitution.
Another bondsman, Kenneth Golder II of Durham, pleaded not guilty Monday to the same charges and will go to trial.
Perkins and Golder were accused of falsifying bond records in hundreds of cases from January 2008 to July 2013, totaling about $1 million.
Before sentencing, Perkins apologized to the court for his actions.
"I made a mistake, poor mistake," he said. "I made a poor decision. I am an honest gentleman ... This is the only thing that has set me back."
Prosecutor David Saacks urged Wake County Judge Howard Manning to make Perkins serve prison time.
"I think there needs to be a strong message that when we find wrongdoing, even in our own house, we're going to do what the law says we need to do," Saacks said.
The discrepancies in court records were first brought to the attention of prosecutors by Clerk of Court Lorrin Freeman.
"I think we get one step closer with putting this behind us, and I think this shows we are not going to tolerate and the court is not going to tolerate the public being taken advantage of," she said.
In May, former Wake County clerk Latoya Barnes apologized in court for intentionally falsifying defendants' electronic court records in 12 cases to reflect that bail bondsmen had paid $27,400 in bonds when they had not.
A bail bondsman must pay the bond of a client who does not show up for court. The money is then used for public education, as required by the state constitution.
Barnes, who pleaded guilty to a felony count of altering court records, received two years of probation because she had no prior criminal record and because she alerted authorities to her actions.