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Mexican restaurant owner's $3 million bond reversed, remanded

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The owner of a chain of Mexican restaurants in southeast Indiana charged with numerous crimes will have a lower bond after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion to reduce his $3 million bond.

Dearborn Circuit Judge James D. Humphrey set Adolfo Lopez’s bond at $3 million surety plus $250,000 cash after Lopez was charged with corrupt business influence, conspiracy to commit corrupt business influence, four counts of forgery, all as Class C felonies, and four counts of Class D felony perjury. He faces up to 60 years in prison and a $100,000 fine if convicted.

Lopez was under investigation by State Excise Police who learned that the chain of Acapulco Mexican restaurants he owned might not have been reporting and documenting all sales. The Department of Revenue found sales were being underreported and revealed fraudulent Social Security numbers of employees. Search warrants were obtained for safety deposit boxes in Lopez’s name that revealed $3 million in cash.

Humphrey had a hearing on the bail-reduction motion but gave little weight to factors that weighed in Lopez’s favor, Judge Terry Crone wrote for the panel. The court was “troubled” by a ruling that didn’t account for the forfeiture of assets.

“We must emphasize that we are dealing with a constitutional right here, and the goal is not to punish in advance of conviction but to assure the defendant’s appearance in court,” Crone wrote. “Significantly, the State has already seized in excess of $3,000,000 from the search of Lopez’s safety deposit boxes. Nonappearance by Lopez jeopardizes his ability to eventually recover any portion of that large sum of money. This fact alone indicates that the risk of nonappearance is lowered and that the extraordinary bail set here is at an amount significantly higher than reasonably calculated to assure Lopez’s presence in court.

“We reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand with instructions for the trial court to set a reasonable bond amount based upon the relevant statutory factors,” Crone wrote in Adolfo Lopez v. State of Indiana, 15A01-1212-CR-550.

More than 100 other people initially were charged along with Lopez after raids in September 2012, but those charges have been dismissed except for those against Lopez and his brother.  
 

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