Gov. McMaster issues crackdown on bail bondsmen, cites ‘revolving door’ repeat offenders

Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 12:41 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The South Carolina Department of Insurance is cracking down on bail bondsmen after an order from the governor.

Gov. Henry McMaster ordered the department to investigate bail bondsmen who fail to report a criminal defendant’s non-compliance with court-ordered bond conditions.

The DOI is being directed to use licensure authority and administrative jurisdiction to increase oversight of the commercial bail-bond industry. The industry is also regulated by county clerks of court.

The order requires bondsmen licensed by the DOI to report defendant violations on bond or pretrial release conditions, verify their non-compliance, and if confirmed have them surrendered to the court or law enforcement.

The order standardizes a statewide process for prosecutors to file complaints to the DOI on licensed bondsmen failing to comply with court orders or other required provisions under the law.

The order notifies bondsmen statewide the DOI will investigate complaints and initiate disciplinary hearings including revoking licenses, imposing civil penalties, or referring potential criminal investigations.

McMaster said, “Any comprehensive effort to close the revolving door of repeat offenders and violent criminals must hold bad actors in the bail-bond industry accountable for refusing to do their job.”

“We’re opening lines of communication between prosecutors and the Department of Insurance so bad actors are appropriately dealt with and we’re making it more difficult for them to go undetected. From now on, if a bondsmen is caught coddling a criminal, they will lose their license to operate in South Carolina.”

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