Alleged fraud in bail records in Houston man’s murder case

Charges of fraud have surfaced in bail filings tied to a man accused of killing his wife and the owner of a Houston bail company whose office was raided earlier this year by US forces. local and federal orders.

Bail guarantor Sheba Muharib alleged that two unidentified co-signers that defendant Curtis Holliday used in November 2021 to secure his release from Harris County Jail had been paid, according to recent court records. Holliday had been sentenced to a combined bond of $400,000 on two counts: murder and assault with continuing domestic violence.

He paid a 10% premium to Muharib’s Aable sureties to get out of jail, according to a surety affidavit to hand over the main document.

“We believe the defendant provided fraudulent information in order to receive bail,” Muharib wrote. “It has come to the attention of our insurance company that 2 of the defendant’s co-signers were paid in order to facilitate the bond process. We were unaware of these circumstances.

The purpose of the affidavit is for the surety to sever ties with a defendant’s bond – usually after a new arrest. By completing the form, bail officers are requesting that the defendant be taken into custody and cease being responsible for the person in the eyes of the court. The document, however, does not say what fraudulent information Holliday provided or who paid the co-signers how much. The bond of the defendant in question is tied to Financial Casualty & Surety, Inc.

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One of Holliday’s lawyers, Dick DeGuerin, said Holliday had trouble setting up bail initially and someone in the jail referred him to an employee of Aable Bail Bonds. The fraud charge, however, is false, the lawyers said, adding that they would continue to prepare for his murder trial in September.

The claim comes months after investigators used a federal search warrant on June 1 to enter his office at 1620 Austin in downtown Houston and seize computers and boxes of documents, prompting questions among members of the Harris County Bail Bond Board on the future of its license. She remains licensed to write bonds in Harris County and has not been charged with a crime.

Good, citing Muharib’s lawyers, said she was not the target of the search warrant.

An insurance company behind Muharib’s second license, United States Fire Insurance Company, briefly canceled its ability to underwrite bonds following the search warrant. After reviewing her paperwork, she was allowed to continue writing bonds for this license. Financial Casualty & Surety, meanwhile, continued its own inspection.

Judge Kelli Johnson of the 178th District Court earlier this month declined to rule on the affidavit, saying it lacked “sufficient facts” to grant their request. She ordered a show cause hearing – allowing Holliday’s defense and the insurance company to show evidence related to the fraud allegation. Muharib was summoned to court on Friday with a subpoena and she waited in a witness room for the scheduled hearing to begin. She declined to comment on the charge outlined in the affidavit or search warrant.

Another of Holliday’s defense attorneys, Mark White, said he sought out a former Aable Bail Bond employee as a witness, but she didn’t show up and was likely dodging service, he told the judge. The hearing did not take place as White agreed to replace Aable Bail Bonds with another surety company willing to assume his client’s risk. The settlement meant that the bonding affidavit with the allegation would be withdrawn and the bounty returned to the defendant.

White also asked the judge to reduce Holliday’s bond.

Despite the withdrawal of the affidavit, prosecutor Lindsay Bondurant said the Harris County prosecutor’s office will investigate the fraud allegation and oppose any attempt to lower her bond. His colleague in the bond forfeiture division, Michael Butera, agreed when addressing the judge.

“It would be strange to reward a bond reduction because we’re here on allegations of fraud,” said Butera, a representative for the Harris County Bail Bond Board.

Within hours of the hearing, a text message was sent to defendants linked to Muharib’s business saying that several employees, including the missing witness, were no longer employed, according to a copy of the text message provided to the Chronicle.

Ken Good, a lawyer for Financial Casualty & Surety, said the insurance company found signs of suspected fraud during a review of large bail amounts ahead of the June 1 search warrant. The review raised questions about “whether the indemnities (co-signers) were real” and the company demanded that Muharib waive the bonds. The principal release bond affidavit in the Holliday case was not filed until August 16.

“We’ve been asking for the bonds to be handed over for a long time — she was given a deadline,” Good said.

Muharib’s license through Financial Casualty & Surety was called into question in April during an application for renewal over allegations of ‘deceptive marketing practices’ that another bond guarantor aired against her and her relatives at a hearing in the Court of Commissioners on premium charges of less than 10%.

Serf Mario Garza, also a member of the Bail Bond Board, identified Muharib and his brothers as one of six bail companies “doing things they shouldn’t do”.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is no longer accepting bonds on the online bond license held by his brother, Anthony Muharib, Sgt. Sisto DeLeon, a surety board representative, said. The bail license — through the US Fire Insurance Company — is expected to be the subject of a future surety board meeting, he continued. The brother could not be reached for comment.

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