CEO of Atlanta bail bonding company adds high-profile clients from Trump case

Jennifer Greene is the CEO of Free At Last Bail Bonds.

Credit: Free At Last Bail Bonds

Credit: Free At Last Bail Bonds

Jennifer Greene is the CEO of Free At Last Bail Bonds.

Jennifer Greene was sitting in her car last Friday morning when she got a text that has altered her world for the past week.

It was the instant the 48-year-old was asked to provide bail bonding services to high-profile defendants in the 2020 election interference case, in which former President Donald Trump and 18 others have been accused of trying to overthrow the Georgia results.

“I never thought we would see this moment,” Greene, the CEO of Free At Last Bail Bonds, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday.

Since that day, three of the 19 people indicted in the case have used her company, a Black-owned business that has been in her family for decades and has several locations in metro Atlanta.

The CEO of a metro Atlanta bail bonding company on Thursday said three of the 19 people indicted this month used her company.

Credit: AJC

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Credit: AJC

Without hesitation, she pleaded for the chance to start working for her new clients, who were a striking contrast to the roughly 175 other people she handles each month. It was something she had been waiting for, a chance to place bail in a positive light and show how it’s necessary, she said.

Politics and judgment sit outside her mind. Her goal is to ensure the defendants show up.

Greene didn’t provide the names or other personal information of her three clients, citing promised confidentiality, though she confirmed their bail amounts were between $100,000 and $150,000.

“My counterparts may not understand why I’m doing this. I mean, the people who believe that Trump and his cohorts are guilty. But that’s not my job,” she said.

A Fulton County grand jury indicted Trump and the others Aug 14. Typically when a person is arrested, they go before a judge to get their bond set, which is based on whether they are a flight risk or a threat to the community.

Greene said bonds typically range from $2,500 to $200,000, and are determined by offense. The average total is between $5,000 and $7,500.

Defendants have the option to pay the amount to the jail, or go through a bonding company for a fee, usually between 12% and 15% of the bond amount. There are ceilings, but no floor, for a bond, she added, so the company can charge less than 10% if necessary.

“The majority of our clientele, unlike Trump cohorts, they don’t have $10,000 just sitting around to get out of jail,” she said. “So going through a bonding company, you’re able to finance your bail premium.”

A typical defendant will need a co-signer to guarantee they will show up to their court date. If they don’t, which is called bond forfeiture, they will have to pay the full amount to the bonding company, which then pays the sheriff’s office.

As for these high-profile clients, Greene said most have strong ties to the community and can act as their own guarantor.

Law enforcement, national and local news outlets and Donald Trump supporters wait outside the Fulton County Jail on Thursday ahead of the former president's surrender.

Credit: John Spink

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Credit: John Spink

Greene acknowledged that well-known clients can sometimes be harder to handle due to a sense of entitlement, so her company works to find creative ways to keep them happy.

Her company, which has a close relationship with the Fulton jail, typically likes to start the bail bonding process before clients get to the facility or have to turn themselves in. That way they can get out “seamlessly,” she said. The entire process can also be done electronically, so they don’t need to go through the front doors of her businesses.

Greene said Free At Last was started by her mother, a pioneer in the industry, before she was born. A legacy was built through times when Black people, or women, weren’t represented. Now, they have eight locations in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton and Cobb counties.

Their mission remains the same.

“Our job is to ensure that you get back home to your family and you continue with your life so that you can have a livelihood that doesn’t lead you to a life of crime,” she said. “One day in jail that spirals down, this could be a revolving door for you.”

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