Iowa bondsman accused of trading bail for sex

DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa bondsman is accused of offering female inmates bail in exchange for sex, state insurance officials said Wednesday.

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David Mark Ellis, of Spring Hill, who owns Always Affordable Bail Bonds in Des Moines, was charged with four counts of fraudulent sales practices, four counts of prostitution, two counts of credit card fraud and one count of fraudulent submissions to an insurance company, according to a news release from the Iowa Insurance Division.

Debra Jo Ellis, of Spring Hill, was charged with five counts of credit card fraud related to EBT transactions, the news release stated.

David Ellis told KCCI-TV that he had no comment about the allegations.

According to court documents, David Ellis and an employee, Justin Dwayne Gilbert, of Des Moines, committed fraud by hiring an employee that was not licensed to manage bond sales.

Court documents state that David Ellis received sexual acts and an EBT benefits card in exchange for bond payment and inmate compensation. The prostitution charges were from three separate instances over two years, according to KCCI.

Debra Ellis was arrested on Tuesday and was released after posting bail, according to the Iowa Insurance Division. David Ellis and Gilbert turned themselves in at the Polk County Jail on outstanding warrants and later posted bail.

“I want to remind people that we are here to help,” Dennis Hermana, with A-2-Z Bail Bonds, told KCCI. “And we’re there to run a business, and it’s a legitimate business.

“A reputable bondsman ... puts everything in writing. There’s always a legal contract.”

David Ellis is expected to appear in court Dec. 16, KCCI reported.