RIVERSIDE – A bail bondsman who allegedly abducted a customer at gunpoint

The Valley News
Wednesday, October 20th, 2010
Issue 42, Volume 14.

RIVERSIDE  – A bail bondsman who allegedly abducted a customer at gunpoint and held him until he paid off a debt pleaded not guilty today to felony charges.

Damion Paul Perkins, 36, is charged with kidnapping for ransom, assault with a deadly weapon and using a firearm during a felony.

He’s being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.

Perkins appeared today with his attorney before Riverside County Superior Court Judge James T. Warren, who set a felony settlement conference in the case for Nov. 2.

An investigation into the alleged abduction was initiated last month by the California Department of Insurance, which licenses bail agents.

Officials said that in July of this year, Riverside-based Bail Bonds United, co-owned by the defendant, posted a bond for a man who failed to pay the up-front premium on the surety after being released from jail.

With the help of an unidentified male accomplice, Perkins went to the customer’s residence on Aug. 9 to collect the debt and allegedly ordered the victim out of his home at gunpoint in front of his children, authorities said.

Perkins allegedly handcuffed the man and placed him in the back of his vehicle, then drove around, demanding that the victim come up with assets to satisfy the unpaid premium, according to the DOI.

The man eventually obtained additional money and illegal drugs from his family, which he turned over to Perkins as payment, prompting the defendant to release him, officials alleged.

If convicted, Perkins could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“Bail bond agents must abide by the law when they collect payments from customers — and they definitely may not kidnap their clients at gunpoint, or else they will wind up behind bars, requiring the services of their own bail bond agent,” California Advertisement

Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said earlier this week.