Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dying Bondsman Released from California Jail

A local bail bondsman who says he's dying of cancer was released from jail on bail, Lerdo jail officials said.

Joaquin Gracilazo Cruz, 65, is accused of cheating clients out of their property and holding clients hostage.

He's been jailed since his arrest. His attorney, Arturo Revelo, says Cruz is not getting the chemotherapy treatment that he needs. He called Cruz's wait for bail a death sentence.

Cruz's family gathered money for his bail, but the judge required them to prove the money was not the product of crime.

On Wednesday morning, the judge lowered bail to $75,000 and removed that requirement.

A letter to the judge from Dr. Ravi Patel of the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center says Cruz has six months or less to live.

Cruz, his wife and four others are charged with 33 felonies following a two-year investigation into accusations that they tricked and coerced clients into giving up property that had been put up for bail.

The wife, Eduvina "Diane" Chacon, and Isaac Trevino are accused of fraudulently getting title to clients' vehicles and houses and other property to sell or for their personal use. Losses from this totaled at least $298,000, according to a press release from the California Department of Insurance.

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