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March 17, 2010

Proprietors of bail bonds empire indicted on federal charges

A federal grand jury has indicted Milton Tillman, Jr., age 53, and his son, Milton "Moe" Tillman III, age 35, both of Baltimore, Maryland, for conspiracy to defraud the Treasury Department, making false statements on tax returns and unlawfully engaging in the business of insurance.  Milton Tillman is also charged with wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud Ports America Baltimore, Inc., where he worked as a member of the International Longshoremen’s Association, prosecutors said.

Tillman Jr. is a well-known businessman with two federal convictions, vast property interests (several of which were recently foreclosed on), and a major chunk of the city's bail bonds market, including holding insurance policies for a slew of others in the industry. The CityPaper in August 2008 described Tillman this way: "To white-collar prosecutors he's a target. According to Drug Enforcement Agency documents and a deceased narcotics prosecutor, he's a violent drug trafficker. But to people he's done business with and public officials who know him, he's a plain, soft-spoken, and successful minority businessman." (Photo at right is a booking photo from aforementioned CityPaper articles)

“The indictment alleges that Milton Tillman Jr. and Milton “Moe” Tillman III conspired to defraud the IRS and operate a bail bond business in violation of federal law, while Milton Tillman Jr. collected pay for a no-show job at the Port of Baltimore,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.   “Because the bail bond industry plays a major role in Maryland’s criminal justice system, the integrity of the system is jeopardized by corrupt bail bondsmen.” 

(As an aside, I just stumbled upon Big Boyz Bail Bonds' entertaining blog, which for awhile has been swiping at Tillman, saying things like "With so many shady bail bondsmen in the state..." and linking to articles about his legal woes.)

Here's more from the US Attorney's Office:

"According to the 28 count indictment, Moe and Milton Tillman operated 4 Aces Bail Bonds, Inc. (4 ACES) with offices at 2332 E. Monument Street in Baltimore and 1101 North Point Boulevard, Suite 121 in Baltimore.  4 ACES engaged in the bail bonding business, securing the release of individuals who were charged in the District and Circuit Courts of Maryland and elsewhere.  Beginning on December 28, 2004, 4 ACES also did business as Global Surety, incorporated by Moe Tillman.  In return for assuming the risk of an arrestee’s future appearances in court, 4 ACES collected a fee, usually a percentage of the bail amount set by the court.  A percentage of each fee collected by 4 ACES was forwarded to the surety insurance company insuring the bond.  4 ACES’ share of the fees constituted virtually all of the company’s gross receipts.  Between 2001 and 2006, the number of bail bonds written increased quickly, so that the company’s gross receipts reported to the IRS went from $188,337 in 2000, to $5,822,588 in 2006.

The indictment alleges that from 2001 through October 2007, Milton and Moe Tillman structured the ownership and business operations of 4 ACES in ways that concealed from the IRS Milton Tillman’s control of the company and the amount and disposition of the income Moe and Milton Tillman derived from the company.  The indictment alleges that Moe and Milton Tillman failed to report to the IRS the use of 4 ACES funds to pay some of Milton Tillman’s personal expenses, such as payments on life insurance policies, car payments on his 2004 BMW, and payment of his personal income taxes.  In addition, Milton and Moe Tillman allegedly transferred 4 ACES funds to themselves or corporations they controlled and used the funds for their personal gain.  The Tillmans allegedly used the pretense that some of the transfers were non-taxable loans, then used the funds to invest in real estate through the payment of earnest money deposits, closing costs and monthly mortgage payments, as well as for other purposes.

Milton Tillman was also a member of the International Longshoremen’s Association AFL-CIO and was assigned to particular shifts to unload or load cargo vessels on behalf of Ports America Baltimore, Inc., a stevedoring company.  The indictment alleges that in addition to misrepresenting to the IRS the extent to which he worked as a longshoreman, Milton Tillman allegedly defrauded Ports America, obtaining wages and fringe benefit payments for hours that he did not work at his job.  The indictment alleges that Tillman obtained approximately 64 payroll checks that included payment for hours he did not work, including hourly wages and benefits he received while on vacation in Brazil, Spain and Las Vegas.

Specifically, the indictment charges that Milton Tillman filed false tax returns for 2002 through 2006, substantially underrreporting his total income, and that Moe Tillman did the same with his 2005 and 2006 tax returns.  In addition, the indictment charges that Moe Tillman filed false corporate tax returns for 2004 through 2006.  Furthermore, the indictment charges that Milton Tillman was prohibited from engaging in the business of insurance due to a previous conviction involving dishonesty and that Moe Tillman was aware that his father was prohibited from engaging in the business of insurance, but still permitted his father to participate in the bail bond business.  Finally, Milton Tillman is charged with wire fraud in connection with the scheme to defraud Ports America.

U.S. Attorney Rosenstein gave special thanks to Acting Maryland Insurance Commissioner Beth Sammis and Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler for the work of their agencies in the investigation and prosecution of this case. 

The Tillmans face a maximum sentence of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge; three years in prison on each count of filing a false tax return; and five years in prison for unlawfully engaging in and permitting a prohibited person to participate in the business of insurance. Milton Tillman also faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on each of 15 counts of wire fraud. "

Posted by Justin Fenton at 2:07 PM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Breaking news


This guy has been a blight on our profession for a LOOOONG time. Thank God someone finally got him. Now, may we professional bondsmen can get get back to serving our community.

first Sheila Dixon,now the Tillimans. What black person of influnece is next. ????. Damm republicans.

Black people in this town can't have any success. Any other corporation charged with the same or similar crimes pay a fine. For some reason, they focus more on putting some people away, while others are allowed to continue violating the law on a regular basis. Its racial and a damn shame, but that's the world we live in.

To liken the charges against the Tillmans to that on which Dixon was convicted and then suggest that such conduct, proved and alleged, somehow relates to African American business is the real racism!

y is it that when a black man/woman try 2 come up, whites try 2 take it away, i mean we all know that a successful black man/woman is the white mans worst nitemare y yall still think its 400 or more years ago, we r everywhere, even in yall so called whitehouse, the man is and his offspring r brilliant black successful buzniz men, stop hatin and start congratulating, honkies. by one of east b-mores finest.

if im not mistaken, this man was a target 4 a long time, and they have their fingers on on him again... i hope the tillman's make out in court just like they always seem to this da one that slip away a from them feds dating back from the 70's! a BLACK ICON IS MILTON TILLAM, and that is our community leader. my luv and respect goes out to the TILLMAN'S

Tillman is a brilliant businessman, a damn genius but he has destroyed so many lives.
There are people who get $10,000 bails for driving on suspended license, and he gets recog'd on all federal charges??, cmon! that's hilarious!

Why do they (law enforcement) even waste their time anymore, nothing ever sticks, he will never be brought down. They been after him for years and years. They must just do it because its what they (law-enforcement) are supposed to do, tax payer money has to be used up to keep the budget right or something.

It is certainly good to see some of the corruption cleaned up. It is tough on honest bail bondsmen when this kind of publicity happens. Hopefully that is one less negative in the bail bond industry.

Black or white, it doesn't matter. That guy was doing wrong and he needs to be punished for it. So many people need the services of bail bondsmen (whether justified or not). People like Tillman shouldn't be allowed to prey on peoples needs. Jail time is a light punishment if you ask me.

It's sad to see that a bondsman who operates daily with clients having legal issues would choose to break the law themselves. Glad to see him being punished. There are still many good/professional bail bondsman out there.

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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