COLUMBUS — The Clermont County Court of Common Pleas on May 10, 2011 upheld an Ohio Department of Insurance decision to revoke the surety bail bond agent license and the assessment of $105,000 in civil penalties and costs against appellant Debra Henneke, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and prior owner of A-1 Bail Bonds, for violations of Ohio insurance law.
“We are pleased with the affirmative decision of the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas,” Ohio Lieutenant Governor and Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor said. “Henneke’s practices provided her with an unfair and illegal advantage over those surety bail bond agents who adhere to the law when conducting business.”
A Department investigation found that Henneke repeatedly and illegally solicited surety bail bonds inside a courthouse and detention facility – even unwittingly soliciting to undercover agents – and that she employed unlicensed individuals to solicit on the premises.
After a Department hearing in July 2010, Henneke was assessed civil penalties for four specific violations in the amount of $25,000 each and administrative costs in the amount of $5,000. Additionally, her bail bonds license was revoked thereby prohibiting her from working in the insurance business in any capacity.
The court ruled there was “sufficient reliable, relevant and probative evidence” to support the Department’s findings that Henneke violated the relevant statues and administrative code provisions. The court also dismissed an accusation by Henneke that the sanctions issued by the Department were unconstitutional.
The fine is the largest against a bail bond agent in the state’s history.
Ohioans who believe an agent is committing fraud should call the Department’s fraud hotline, 1-800-686-1527. Consumers with specific insurance questions and complaints can call the Department’s consumer hotline at 1-800-686-1526. Information about agent fraud and misconduct can be found on the Department’s web site, www.insurance.ohio.gov.