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Former bails bondsman pleads guilty to inappropriately using funds

Crime Watch

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IDAHO FALLS — A former bail bondsman has pleaded guilty to inappropriately using bail funds.

On Tuesday, Ryan James Smith, 51, pleaded guilty to one count of felony use of fiduciary funds for personal use. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dismissed a second count of the same charge.

According to court documents and the Idaho Attorney General’s Office, Smith took collateral given to him by two clients when he owned Atlas Bail Bonds, but then failed to either return their money or return it in a timely fashion. The company closed its doors in 2016 after Smith surrendered his bail agent license. The Idaho Department of Insurance accused him of breaching his financial duties due to irresponsibility and forced Smith to pay a $6,000 fine.

In a plea agreement reviewed by EastIdahoNews.com, Smith will request a withheld judgment in the case. If the court grants that request, then if Smith is successful on probation, the charge will be removed from his criminal record.

If the court does not approve that request, the Idaho Attorney General’s Office will ask for a suspended sentence to be given to Smith. The plea agreement outlines the prosecution’s plan to recommend Smith spend five years on probation, do 100 hours of community service and spend 30 days in the county jail.

RELATED: Local bail bondsman stripped of license and fined for failing to return money

Smith is free to argue what the judge sentences him, but both the state and defense agree on paying the $1,893 restitution to the Idaho Department of Insurance. That restitution is to pay for investigative costs into Smith’s mishandling of bail funds.

District Judge Joel E. Tingey is scheduled to sentence Smith on Jan. 23 at the Bonneville County Courthouse.

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