After a three-day bench trial, a former local bail bondsman was found guilty of complicity to forgery, and his employee was found guilty of forgery Wednesday for posting a $50,000 bond in October from Free Me Now Bail Bonds, which was unlicensed at the time.
Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Gene Zmuda found Damon Hogan, 32, now of Pickerington, Ohio, and Ericka Burns, 42, of 2530 Heather Hills Rd., guilty of the fifth-degree felony, but acquitted Hogan of complicity to tampering with records. During the trial, he acquitted Burns of the tampering charge.
In rendering his verdict, Judge Zmuda said the two had a responsibility, as state license holders who are officers of the court, to comply with the law.
“That’s what gives you the privilege, without a dime in your pocket, to walk into any jail and secure the release of somebody being held on a $50,000 bond,” he said. “I can’t do this. Anyone not a bail bond agent can’t do that.”
The judge set sentencing for Sept. 10 and ordered that neither Hogan or Burns participate in bail bonds until then.