Hi reddit,

I’m Ira Judelson, bail bondsman and father of three kids. Part of what I’ve done over the past 20 years is bail out dozens of celebrities like Kat Williams, DMX, and Ja Rule. I’ve bailed out thousands more, some who are in dark, dark places.

I employ multiple bounty hunters, but bad guys mostly come to me because I’m also what’s called a Fixer. I smooth things over between defendants, lawyers, DAs, and judges. I’ve gotten burglars out of jail overnight, eventually with a slap on the wrist and probation. I’ve helped drug dealers who were looking at serious time in prison get down to house arrest and rehab. If it turns out that a client does end up having to do time, I can set them up on the inside with advice, protection, and the amenities.

I’ve been profiled by the NY Times, and I just published my first book, The Fixer. It’s not always the most honorable profession, but ask me anything. I’ve seen some shit.


Comments: 151 • Responses: 30  • Date: 

Lady_BeepBop38 karma

I know for you it's strictly business and money in your pocket, but do you ever feel any amount of guilt for bailing murderers or gang members? People you know are gonna be released and immediately go do harm?

IraJudelsonAMA38 karma

The answer is that it's not about the money. It's about dealing with people at their most vulnerable times. I do have a conscience--I'm a married man with children. My job is to vet people so that they have the strongest case.

I did once bail out a guy, and he went and hurt some people after. I lost a lot of sleep after that, and it almost made me lose the business.

TotallyBitchinDude17 karma

God bless you, sir. You're doing God's work. Bails bondsmen got me out several times. Thank you.

I was sitting in traffic and a car pulled up beside me that said "Blacks Bail Bonds". Took me a minute to realize his name must've been Mr. Black. Then I laughed.

Edit: Being a bondsman is a noble and admirable profession. No one should have to spend a single second in jail until they've been convicted. You protect us from police abuse.

IraJudelsonAMA20 karma

Thank you. I hope that your life is in a great place right now.

PopuIus17 karma

Will you consider hiring someone who actually works with webdesign for your website?

IraJudelsonAMA11 karma

Yes. It's coming, believe me.

karmanaut16 karma

Have you ever refused someone bail or didn't help them just because you didn't like them personally?

IraJudelsonAMA26 karma

Yes. There are a lot of people who feel like I owe them because even though they think they have what it takes for a bail, I just don't like their attitude or whatever, so I tell them to go somewhere else. I'm here to help them. I'm an ally, so they need to treat me like an ally.

G1adi4tor15 karma

1) What is your relationship with law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges? Do they see you as a positive impact or a negative one?

2) Can you elaborate on the "setting them up on the inside" part? Do you have connections with other prisoners, corrections officers, prison officials, or all of the above? Does your help increase or decrease the chance of re-offending?

IraJudelsonAMA20 karma

1.) I have a great relationship with what I call the "other side." I know they're doing their job, I know I'm doing my job. We both respect each other and know that we both have a job to do.

2.) I don't have any direct connections with prison officials, except a few of the local officals here in the New York. But a lot of my clients I stay in touch with while they're in prison. And some of my clients help out other clients who are not ready for the system.

I'm also buddies with these guys who have a combined total of 40 years prison time between them. They run a program called Prison Prep, where they coach people on how to act in prison. You can find them on JammedUp.com.

And my services typically help a lot to decrease their chances of going back inside. I've got one guy who I set up with a job after he got out.

G1adi4tor10 karma

That's really great what you do for people who've made mistakes.

Do you view your services as more of an investment into these people's success in life after they've served their time?

IraJudelsonAMA9 karma

Yeah, I get tremendous amounts of letters, card, and phone calls from people who have used my services, and the families of people who use my services. Those accolades help me get through my day sometimes when it's a tough day.

beatyourkids14 karma

Do you have a goon squad

IraJudelsonAMA24 karma

I do have a goon squad. I've people that collect for me, I have marshals that I'm close with, and bounty hunters that I deal with.

beatyourkids18 karma

Serious questions.

A. Do you wear a track suit everywhere you go?

B. Do you call people wiseguys on a regular basis

IraJudelsonAMA23 karma

The answer, beatyourkids, is I do not wear a track suit wherever I go, and I don't know exactly what wiseguys mean. That's a "street" term.

Also, watch your username, or I'm going to get BACA on you. Bikers Against Child Abuse.

thejoshuawest8 karma

On that note, do you smoke Cigars? (It would really add to my image of your goon squad :D )

IraJudelsonAMA17 karma

Absolutely. I love a nice cigar. I also drink Patron and Avion Tequila.

swollenmonkeyrg13 karma

did you bail out a rabbi for passover

IraJudelsonAMA11 karma

Yes I did. I got a phone call from a prominent attorney. He said he had a rabbi that was sentenced to 33 years, and he needed to be home for Passover. The bail was set in cash bail, which the rabbi couldn't do, and we had to change it to bonds bail. I went to the appellate division and got that out of the way.

So now we needed to pick him up. A buddy of mine, Damon, had a bit of college up where the rabbi was detained. He took the six hour ride in the middle of the night to go get the guy, but he was a bit hesitant because of the rabbi's charges. They were sex related. The correctional officers were very reluctant to let the guy go because they pretty much hated him, and now they were hating Damon for bailing him.

Long story short, we got him out, we raced him back home, and he was back in time for Passover.

thejoshuawest4 karma

I'm confused, did this actually happen or is it a reference to some movie I've never seen. Or news item I've not heard of...

IraJudelsonAMA8 karma

No, it definitely happened. The full story is in my book.

shitsburghPa12 karma

What shit have you seen? Has any shit seen you?

IraJudelsonAMA14 karma

I've watched two different alleged gangs walk into my office with their alleged colors on. I had to ask one side to leave, and I thought there was going to be a war.

EdPeggJr10 karma

When you bail someone out, what are your rules for them?

IraJudelsonAMA19 karma

They most check in with me once a week. They also check in once a week by phone. We make sure that we know their court dates. They cannot travel outside of the jurisdiction. And some clients we put ankle braces on.

ailyara9 karma

What's the stupidest reason someone went to jail that you had to bail them out for?

IraJudelsonAMA24 karma

Wow, the stupidest reason? Great question. Somebody I bailed out was trying to catch a plane, and she was so angry at LGA that she said, "What do you think I am? Carrying a bomb or something?" And boom, she's arrested.

donnerkebabparty9 karma


IraJudelsonAMA21 karma

I respect Dog in what he's done in the entertainment industry, but I think some of his tactics would have very different results in New York.

shirebrew8 karma

OK, so lets say I'm arrested and thrown in jail. What do I do?

IraJudelsonAMA16 karma

Keep your head down, don't talk to people about your case, don't brag, and go to the law library and look up different programs to get you out early.

bklynbelle7 karma

Who/what was your most challenging client/case, and why?

IraJudelsonAMA10 karma

Wow, one of the most challenging cases was with stock broker where I tried numerous times to get this defendant out on bail, and the government would not use some of the properties that he owned because they thought it was bought with ill gotten gains.

After two months of really fighting it out and actually having a hearing in court, the judge let him out once we proved that the property did come from legal sources.

As for personal challenges, there's been times where friends that I love and respect come to me. Having to number 1 take them out, number 2 charge them, and 3 see their families and know that it's not going to be good. That's been difficult before.

squirmypiggy7 karma

I'm a bondsman in Michigan. Can you explain how the government was involved in the collateral? I mean, I can see the issue, but I couldn't imagine a court here caring what I took for collateral as long as I picked up the defendant or paid the tab if he skipped bond.

IraJudelsonAMA10 karma

The government did not want to let the defendant out because it felt that the money the defendant made through fraud paid for some of the houses that he wanted to use as collateral. Also, the allegation was that the defendant was funneling money to his family to hide it, and the government wanted to make sure that their houses were bought and paid for with clean money, including their mortgages.

So, in New York State they care. A lot. It's called surety hearing or nebia hearing.

drummermachine7 karma

Being from Canada, I don't understand the system in the states... How does a bondsman get someone out of jail...? I don't get it.

IraJudelsonAMA11 karma

Bondsman puts up the bond to secure the defendant's appearance in court. The bond acts like money. So if the bond ins 25,000, the bondman is putting up 25,000. If the defendant runs, the bondsman owes the court 25,000.

I take collateral--houses, jewelry, cars--to insure that doesn't happen.

Cambo_18887 karma

What is some of the highest bail amounts you've seen paid?

IraJudelsonAMA9 karma

5 million for Dominique Strauss-Kahn, 5 Million for a stock broker on fraud charges, and 3 million for a teacher with sex charges.

zaniko6 karma

What a fascinating line of work! Ad a career counsellor, I find what you're doing really cool.

My question is what's your educational background, and how did you get started? I've heard it's hard to even become a parole officers without a master's, so I'm curious :p

IraJudelsonAMA6 karma

Thank you. I was never a parole officer. You have to have a license to be a bail bondsman, and I have a college degree from Iona College.

thejoshuawest6 karma

How did you become a fixer? I can't imagine it was something you dreamt about as a child..

IraJudelsonAMA12 karma

That's true. I didn't dream of being a fixer. My wife used to always tell me that I can't solve everyone's problems. But that's what I like to do: I like to fix problems. That's what I realized in this business is that I can help. If I can get some people to turn their lives around, then I can go to sleep at night.

I got into it after I was involved with a lot of night clubs, gyms... I owned tanning salon... and I was a professional softball player. So it was a lot different jobs. It's a whole long story, but everything was falling apart, but while I was playing softball I ran into a long lost uncle who I eventually got me into the business. That's when I really turned my life around.

thejoshuawest6 karma

Very Interesting. Are there "qualifications" or particular skills that you think makes the difference between a true fixer and someone trying to fill that or a similar role in a city?

IraJudelsonAMA9 karma

You have to wear a lot of hats, and you have to be a street guy, and you have to be able to deal with all different types of people. But most of all, you have to really understand the people you're dealing with. Sometimes just listen.

swollenmonkeyrg5 karma

Was DSK a total arrogant ass ?

IraJudelsonAMA11 karma

No, not at all. He was just a gentleman that obviously got jammed up, and he was actually exonerated later on.

_pink_maggit5 karma

What is your opinion on Pretrial Monitoring programs that allow release on recognizance? Do you believe they are more/less effective than a cash bail when it comes to keeping court appearances, not picking up new charges, etc.?

IraJudelsonAMA4 karma

It's ineffective. I believe that every case should stand on its own merits, and if the judge sets a bail, there's a reason for it.

KiddingTits3 karma

What's the most remarkable lesson you've learnt from your job?

IraJudelsonAMA16 karma

Never judge the book by it's cover (unless they have a spiderman tattoo on their face). At the same time, go with your first instincts.

A_Wild_Flygon0 karma

What should I do if I was in?

IraJudelsonAMA5 karma

First thing you do is keep your mouth shut. Second thing you do is find a bondsman to get you out. He's the only one doing it, not a lawyer.

squirmypiggy2 karma

Assuming bail bondsmen are allowed in your state.

IraJudelsonAMA3 karma

Yes, there are some states that don't use bondsmen. In those states, sometimes clerks or your family deals directly with the paperwork.

Ocsis22 karma

How do you find one?

IraJudelsonAMA7 karma

You can go online in jail and find one. Look for one who's be referred somewhere. Or Ask one of the officers or a judge. Someone always knows someone who got jammed up.

If you're in NYC, check the bullpin for my number.

lshic0 karma

what would be your plus/minus of lifes saved/ended by your actions?

IraJudelsonAMA2 karma

Could you rephrase that please? I'm not sure what the question is.