He may be an eccentric, working out of an office decorated with knives and inhabited by a screeching macaw, but after almost 40 years of bounty hunting Leonard Padilla is very clear about his standards.
“We’re all working on the edge, but it’s not something where you have to go over,” Padilla said Friday.
According to Padilla, the valley’s bounty and bail bond industry is in an uproar after Wednesday’s arrest of Modesto bail agent Praveen Singh.
“This guy didn’t make a mistake, he was out recruiting people. He’s an idiot. He’s an absolute idiot,” said Padilla.
More than a year’s worth of investigation by a special task force has put the 34-year-old Singh behind bars for impersonating a criminal investigator.
In that role police say Singh made jail visits and recruited jailed gang members to shoot at an officer’s home and organize a home invasion robbery of an illegal pot grow.
Though there’s a bail bonds office that bears his name, Padilla is not a bail agent.
That Sacramento office is run by his son. He is, however, an expert in bail and bounty procedures.
“He was doing this by performing duties of what would normally be a detective working for an attorney. That way he doesn’t have to go through a tape-recorded conversation,” said Padilla.
Padilla’s worked for decades to create professional organizations for the bounty and bail industries in California and doesn’t want a rogue agent to make the public forget about the important role of this part of the justice system.
“You’re talking about 40,000 people in this town that are out on bail at any given time…going to court. This (bail) eases the expenses of the jail, the police and the sheriff’s department, he said.
The task force which facilitated Singh’s arrest is still operating in Stanislaus County and investigators are asking that anyone else with information about him come forward.