Agents raid bondsman's offices

Twice prosecuted, Tillman was found guilty in 1990s of tax evasion, bribery

August 20, 2008|By Melissa Harris | Melissa Harris,Sun reporter

Federal agents this week raided the offices of Milton Tillman Jr., a leading Baltimore bail bondsman who has been a repeated target of federal and state law enforcement and was convicted years ago of tax evasion and bribery.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein would confirm only that the federal agents raided 2332 E. Monument St., the headquarters of Tillman's 4 Aces bond company; 1101 North Point Blvd. and 1003 Greenmount Ave., both business addresses; and 3818 Kimble Road, which is in the same block where Tillman's son was wounded in a drug-related shooting.

At least one additional property was raided, but Marcia Murphy, Rosenstein's spokeswoman, declined to provide additional information.

She also would not say whether an investigation was under way. The FBI and IRS referred questions to Rosenstein's office. A spokeswoman for the IRS said documents related to the search are sealed. The raid was first reported in the Baltimore Examiner.

Tillman did not return a phone message left yesterday at 4 Aces. Attorney A. Dwight Pettit, who successfully defended Tillman on charges that he illegally used single properties as collateral to free multiple people from jail, said he is not representing Tillman in this matter.

Tillman has been federally prosecuted twice. In 1996, he was convicted of seven charges related to tax fraud. He set up phony companies and a fake employee to skim hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits from his former nightclub, Odell's, and then funneled those earnings into real estate, according to a 1996 Sun article.

In 1993, Tillman was sentenced to more than two years in federal prison for trying to bribe a member of the Baltimore zoning board with $30,000 so that she would cast a vote to keep Odell's open. A go-between had paid $20,000 to an undercover agent posing as an associate of the zoning board member.

In 1996, federal prosecutors told jurors that Tillman conducted business in cash, making it difficult for them to trace his income. According to public records, Tillman owns about 60 properties in Baltimore, under his name, his wife's, his son's or various companies.

Rex Frost, who financed many of Tillman's real estate purchases, said he learned yesterday morning about the FBI and IRS raids. Frost said he would cease doing business with Tillman "as of today."

Sun reporter Julie Bykowicz contributed to this article.

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