Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood and Bourbon
LegalWings Bail Bonds
“There are three people you need in life: an accountant, a fishmonger, and a bail bondsman.”
LegalWings Bail Bonds got its start in 1985, shortly after Regina Dufresne met Arnold Hughes. The bounty hunter was a decade and a half older than her when he strolled into the lawfirm where she was working as a secretary, but he had her at “hello.” He wasn’t from the city originally—said he’s been all over and the Big Easy was just another stop on his card—though when he and Regina started seeing each other he was more than happy to settle down. Especially once they found out Regina was pregnant. The pair spent the next handful of years laying the groundwork for the rousing success that LegalWings would eventually become, splitting their attention between their kids and their business. By the time the boys were five years old LegalWings had made itself known as a force to be reckoned with. Regina had a talent for the legalese and dealing with the police and lawyers, and Arnold had a talent for tracking people down when they decided to skip town. It’s a skill he passed on to his boys.
After Arnold passed Regina took to her work with a new gusto. She loved her boys, but it was the work that got her through the day. While the recovery agents those early years never managed to be quite as efficient as Arnold had been, Regina made it work by minimizing loss, making friends across the industry, and cultivating talent. The Dufresne name is well known by police, lawyers, and criminal enterprises. They’ve served everyone from high-profile socialites to the lowest of the low.
Unlike a lot of bail bond companies, LegalWings keeps a handful of lawyers on retainer. They’re often the first call desperate souls make after they’ve been picked up; it’s company policy that they’ll hold your hand through the entire process, they just expect you to pay for the privilege.
LegalWings doesn’t care what you’ve done or if you’re guilty: they look at you and see dollar signs and they’re more than happy to collect.
Bonds & Process
Bail is a set amount of money that acts as insurance between the court and the person in jail (the defendant). Since bail is often set at a high amount, most defendants are financially unable to post bail by themselves. They seek help from a bail agent, or bail bondsman, who posts a bail bond for them.
A bail bond is a type of surety bond provided by a surety bond company through a bail agent or bail bondsman that secures the release of a defendant from jail. There are two types of bail bonds:
Criminal Bail Bond: used in criminal cases and guarantees that a defendant appear for trial when called upon by the court and guarantees payment for any fines or penalties that are decided against the defendant.
Civil Bail Bond: used in civil cases and guarantee the payment of the debt, plus interest and costs, assessed against the defendant.
How They Work
In America, people are considered innocent until proven guilty, which basically boils down to meaning that the courts shouldn’t be able to hold a person until they’re officially convicted of a crime. Until that time the person is considered innocent and thus has a right to their freedom. Of course in America, not much comes free.
This is where bail comes in. A judge sets a bail amount, which varies by the defendant’s criminal record, nature of crimes committed, and where the defendant lives (among other things). The bail works as a sort of deposit, ensuring that the accused will show up to their court date. If it’s paid in full initially it will be returned upon the completion of the defendant’s court requirements (minus court fees).
But not everybody is able to drop thousands of dollars on bail. That’s where LegalWings comes in. If the defendant cannot pay the bail amount on their own, they can seek help from a bail bondsman in the form of a bail bond. The bail bond works as a surety bond; the bondsman vouches that the defendant will show up to their court date in exchange for a percentage of the total bail amount.
The bail bondsman will then secure the rest of the bail amount in the form of collateral. If the defendant does not have enough collateral, the bail bondsman might seek out relatives and friends to assist in covering the bail.
If defendant fails to appear in court, the bail bond is forfeited and the court requires the remaining 90% of the bail to be paid. Since they were the ones vouching for the defendant in the first place, they become responsible for paying back the court if the defendant doesn’t show up. The bail bondsman will use the defendant’s collateral (house, jewelry, stocks, etc) to pay the court the remaining bail amount. They may also send a bounty hunter after the defendant to take him to jail, at which point they recover the bond.
Upon conclusion of the court case, the bail bond is dissolved and the collateral is returned to the person who posted it. The bail bondsman keeps a percentage of the bail as profit.
Owner: Regina Dufresne
Recovery Agents: Randy Dufresne, Reggie Dufresne, Benjamin Dolan
Staff: Rusty Dufresne, Bette Malone, Mariella “Marie” Sheffield, George St. George, Joseph Beaumont, Susan Ratcliff
• Regina Dufresne (Ally [Industry] ••••)
Owner of Legalwings Bailbonds, New Orlean’s premiere bail bond company. She started the business in the mid-’80s and has steadily climbed to the top, forcing her competitors out of business or simply absorbing them into her company. Now known as NOLA’s Bail Bond Queen, Regina employs a few dozen people in various offices around the city. All three of her sons work for her in various roles. She’s a hard woman with a no-nonsense, no bullshit attitude who hasn’t been slowed down by her advancing age or the death of her boys’ dad.
• Randall “Randy” Dufresne (Ally [Industry] ••)
Randall grew up with the same stories that his older brothers did. He learned how to con, how to read a situation, how to lie through his teeth. He was less interested in academics than Rusty and never quite as good a shot as Reggie, but Randy brought something to the group that the others lacked: an innate sense of danger. Maybe it was a sixth sense, maybe it was a guardian angel, but Randy always seemed to know when the going was about to get tough. Reggie might be able to read a man as well as any card shark, and Rusty might be able to dig up all sorts of dirty laundry, but no matter how deep the shit they were in Randy would find a way out. He knew the city and the outlying areas as well as he knew just how to touch a woman to make her cream her panties; he knew which streets were speed-traps, which cops could be bribed to look the other way, which clients were likely to cause trouble and which would simply roll over. Maybe that’s why he fell in with Jade when he did—because, despite the warning bells going off in his head, she was simply too captivating a woman to walk away from. And when she offered him immortality in exchange for service, well, he was the first of his brothers to jump in feet first. He’s a driver by trade, both for his “babe” and for his family, and he’s the son his mother turns to when she thinks someone might have crossed the border, or when she needs something a little sensitive moved. After all, when you deal with as many criminals as they do, you’re bound to get caught up in something fun sooner or later.
• Reginald “Reggie” Dufresne (Ally [Industry] ••)
If Arnold Hughes could clone himself the result would be Reggie Dufresne. Of all the brothers, Reggie was closest to their father, eager to learn everything that he had to teach and soaking it all up like an earnest little sponge at his feet. He was the first to get his concealed permit, first to learn how to wield a blade just as well as he did a gun, and the first to lose his virginity. Cindy Maltz. He was an early teenager trying to pass as an adult, and Cindy proved the perfect mark for him, never mind that she was 18 and he was 13. Their dalliance gave him a boost of confidence that never left, a self-assured smugness that some might even consider arrogance. But hey, when you look as good as Reggie does, what’s not to be confident about? Reggie served as his mother’s chief bounty hunter and all around muscle as soon as he was old enough to take the test. He’s the guy she sends when she needs to make sure shit gets done right, and he’s one of the few that she uses for her own personal protection if she’s making a public appearance. He runs a con as well as any smooth-talker, too, and knows all the bolt-holes and tricks that their clients like to pull when they get jumpy.
• Benjamin Dolan (Ally [Industry] ••)
Patrick had high hopes for his firstborn. He thought that he’d introduce him early on to the cooking life, that he could train the boy’s palate and create a master chef that would make his Aunt Ida proud of the new generation of Dolans. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Benjamin was a sad case in the kitchen. He oversalted. He undergarnished. He couldn’t follow a recipe to save his life. Worse, he liked his steaks well done. “Kill it twice, why don’tcha” his dad would grumble at him. He never had a chance at being a chef like the rest of his family. Fortunately his mother provided another alternative: law enforcement. She got her boy a spot in the police academy and he excelled during training. After graduation he was assigned to the 6th District, but his commander must have had it out for him because he spent almost all his time in the poor, high-crime area of Central City. He started using a little too much force for the police to consistently cover up, and a fairly high-profile beatdown and shooting saw him removed from the force. A week later he was picked up by LegalWings, where he now works as a recovery agent and all-around muscle for Regina Dufresne.
• Russel “Rusty” Dufresne (Ally [Industry] ••)
His “little brothers” might consider Rusty the odd man out in their trio, but Rusty has something that the other two don’t: brains. While Reggie and Randy were content to learn at their parent’s feet about bounty hunting and tracking down marks, Rusty was busy learning how to prepare for the future. He knew that life wouldn’t always be like it was then, so when the Internet, cell phones, and computers started becoming a big thing he threw himself into them like a dollar bill in a stripper’s thong. Everyone has a digital footprint, he says, and he’s happy to find it for his mom and siblings to stretch their business even further. He’s in charge of the website, the emails, and all the rest of the digital content that the company needs. More than that, though, he dual-majored in Business and Criminal Justice. He said he didn’t need the official education for tech because “they’re not going to teach the things you really need to know.” He’s less interested in the “macho” field work that his two brothers use to butter their bread, but makes sure to keep himself in shape for the days he gets the urge to put someone’s head through a wall.
• Bette Malone (Ally [Industry] •)
Bette is a single mother to 17-year-old Ricky Malone. She’s the Italian part of her half-Italian son, and has raised him alone since three months into her pregnancy when his father skipped out on them. She didn’t bother trying to track him down for child support and instead committed herself to raising the best kid she knew how. She received moderate assistance from the rest of her family until their falling out when Ricky was five over an incident at his school. She currently works three jobs to pay for her son’s boxing needs, be they private lessons, gym memberships, or other assorted gear. Unfortunately the fact that she’s out of the house so much means that she isn’t around to keep her son from getting into trouble, so she doesn’t realize how deep he’s in with the mob for his gambling debts (or even that he gambles). Hasn’t dated since her son knocked out her last boyfriend in a “friendly” sparring match when he was thirteen, though she’s had a handful of discrete lovers that she doesn’t bring around the house. Works as a cocktail waitress and cashier when she isn’t handling the phones at LegalWings.
• Mariella “Marie” Sheffield (Ally [Industry] ••)
Distantly related to the Cardona family (yes, that family, the one with alleged ties to the Mafia), Martha wasn’t close enough to the main family tree “to get caught up in all that nonsense.” She was one of Regina’s first employees and has been at LegalWings since her early twenties. Now almost 50, Marie works directly for Regina as her personal assistant. She makes the calls, schedules the meetings, and otherwise handles the day-to-day affairs of the Bail Bond Queen. Other employees describe her as a human pitbull: she’s fiercely protective of Regina’s time and runs the office with ruthless efficiency. Outside of work she’s as charming as any southern belle and has a fondness for pecan pie. She’s married to a contractor and has three kids, the oldest of whom is already making noise about becoming a bounty hunter when he grows up.
• George St. George (Ally [Industry] ••)
Unfortunate name aside, George St. George is just as successful as his foster siblings. He was lucky enough to be brought into Mary St. George’s home before he ever had a chance to lose sight of who he was within the state’s foster care, and never went through the rebellious teenage phase where he told her ”you’re not my real mom.” A devout Catholic, George joins his family every Sunday for their dinner and had even considered seminary school, though it appears that God had other plans for him. He nows works as a financial analyst at LegalWings Bail Bonds, which sounds a little more involved than it is: mostly he goes through people’s belongings to appraise them in case clients default on their bonds or try to flee. He has a strong head for numbers and knowing what things are worth. Unmarried but looking, and recently ended a two-year relationship for “religious differences” after he discreetly fed his girlfriend a pill that would make her miscarry following a positive pregnancy test. Protests outside of abortion clinics in his spare time.
• Joseph Beaumont (Ally [Industry] ••)
The prodigal son and only (adult) non-college attendee in the family. Decided to “take a year off” and travel abroad after high school and did that for almost ten years before he finally ran out of money. All his time traveling and making friends has left him with a silver tongue that serves him well at LegalWings, where he’s what he refers to as an intake specialist. He walks the defendants through the process of bail and gets them to sign on the dotted line for as high a percentage as he can get. Anything over 10% he gets a bonus on.
• Susan Ratcliff (Ally [Industry] •)
Her mother used to say that she was “born middle-aged and gets older every year.” Susan always thought that was a blessing, since it meant that she was more mature than most people her age and had a good head on her shoulders, but it turned out to be less of a blessing than she’d thought when her father got sick and Susan had to pick up a job at 15 to start helping with the bills. He’d already left her mother and brother and there was no one else to turn to. She put her dreams on hold until her father finally passed, glad that she’d had the foresight at least to not take on any of the medical debt herself. But the life insurance didn’t go far, and Susan was left in a bad spot when she had to pay for funeral costs. She took out a loan. Then another loan to pay that one back. And a third. With interest rates skyrocketing, Susan got a little bit desperate. At her brother Jordan’s advice, she started stealing and fencing shit for the mob, but she got sloppy. She was picked up, arrested, and finally released on bail, which is where she met Regina Dufresne. Regina took one look at the girl and knew that she had a smarter head on her shoulders than she was given credit for. She brought her into the LegalWings family and has been a mentor of sorts since, training her in the biz and pushing her through undergrad and now finally law school. Regina’s investment has paid off: Susan will be a hell of a lawyer as soon as she finishes this next year, and she fully plans to take Regina’s offer of staying on and serving as a consultant of sorts for their clients. She’s also secretly dating the much-older John Michael Flynn behind his wife’s back, whose daughter she goes to school with.