Raquel Vasquez is a writer, entrepreneur and the bondswoman known as Hollywood’s Queen of Bail. Her clients include rappers, actors, gangsters, bikers, graffiti artists, lowlifes, and high-flyers. She does not represent John Q. Public. “Most of my clients are ghetto famous and infamous,” she says. The stories she tells in Bail Tales are true. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent… and the guilty.
I was sitting home alone on a quiet Wednesday night when my phone rang. It was a bond call! A shot of adrenaline went straight to my brain whenever my phone rang. I answered eagerly with a million thoughts going through my head. Many people assume I had celebrity clients through nepotism. Not necessarily so… Here’s the true story of my first celebrity client.
From the other end of the telephone line came a young girl’s voice, faint and insecure, which in turn made me feel insecure. She sounded like a teenager. She gave me her loved one’s information. The person needing bail was in the Hollywood Division. The bail was $30,000 and I was charging the full ten-percent premium because this was a total stranger. The girl said “okay” to the three thousand dollars but asked if I would come pick up the money in person. She said that they lived close to the Hollywood jail. My answer was “yes” and I was on my way.
The address provided for me was in Hollywood and my navigation said it was a twelve-minute drive from my house. As I was driving, I noticed I was no longer in the small blocks of Hollywood and was now driving up windy streets only wide enough for one car. The farther up the hill I drove, the darker the streets became, and the more nervous I became. I decided I better call someone and let them know where I am. But I didn’t call anyone. Not yet.
I found the address, and all I could see was a giant electric double door gate entrance. It was about ten feet high. I thought, Could this be right? Some cold call comes in, sounds like a teenager on the other end of the line and this is where she lives? I texted a friend of mine, and it went something like this: “Hey I’m about to go into a house at blah blah address. If I don’t call you in five minutes, call the police.”
The giant gates opened ever so slowly, allowing me to peek inside before I actually drove in. The house sat on the right side of the lot, and on the left was nothing but the most incredible view of sparkling street lights, the DTLA skyline and the stars above. There was a long winding gravel road to the house that had the view to enjoy as you drove up. As the driveway came to an end there was a pile of cars parked in front of the house. A Rolls Royce, two Range Rovers, a Mercedes — and all the cars had out-of-state license plates. I thought to myself, great… They have a home out of California to run to. A basic nightmare for any bail agent. I snapped a few pictures of the cars and plates and walked to the front door.
I knocked on the floor-to-ceiling-high front door and waited. My heart was beating so hard I could hear it. The night was dark as the bottom of the sea (nerves). I was all alone, and had no idea what I was going to face on the other side of this door… any second now. I waited… What came to the door was not what I expected. A woman answered. She had full makeup on, was dripping in gold jewelry, and the best part — she was wearing the exact same Juicy Couture jumpsuit I was wearing. That’s right, the exact same jumpsuit, and in the exact same color. She and I looked each other up and down and both died laughing out loud! We made an instant connection and my nerves were put at ease.
The lady in jewels was the mother of the girl who’d called me for bail, and the mother of the person in custody. She had a serious mama bear vibe and the cash to back it up. She was all business.
The ice was broken, my heart and stomach felt at ease, and she invited me into the home. The home was just as palacious on the inside. I immediately noticed the gold and platinum framed albums on the wall. My eyes got bigger as I thought to myself, Who the hell are these people?
The woman had three grand cash for me, all in one-hundred dollar bills. We did the paperwork and I was off to get her loved one out of jail. The person in custody at Hollywood jail turned out to be a pop star with the current number one hit on the air, and now they were my client! A pile of fancy cars followed me to the Hollywood jail, and then waited for their loved one to be released. Everyone who followed in their Range Rovers and Mercedes were all dripping in gold and diamonds and all on their cell phones. They seemed to take a liking to me and naturally started calling me “Rocky.”
Now let’s take a moment to think, what would be the worst scenario? If they want their person out of jail, surely they’re not going to kidnap me or kill me, at least not until after I posted the bond. But they also know I’m a girl alone walking around with three grand cash in my pocket.
After the bond was done I raced home to google my client. They were pretty big and I had just bailed them out! I was so excited, I could not sleep. I never imagined that any of my bonds would result in business relationships. But this client went to jail many more times. My meetings to pick up money for payment went from restaurants in Sunset Plaza, and one rented mansion after another rented mansion. Cash payments changed to rubber checks and defensive attitudes. Dirty secrets were revealed and chaos and distrust filled the space that was once filled with excitement and Gucci.
This pop star throughout the years offered me many celebrity client referrals. This one night brought a specific niche clientele to my table and it was one hundred percent organic. Again it was my good fortune.
After that night, I always used the “five minutes and call” tactic. I would always have someone know where I was at all times, and I would call with a quick “yep” to confirm that I was okay. There are a few more stories where this client is concerned that left me feeling used and unappreciated. Slowly but surely, I was realizing this was a thankless job that was so damn lucrative.