- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 18, 2010

A prominent Baltimore bail bondsman and real estate owner, once described by a federal prosecutor as “one of the most notorious drug dealers in Baltimore City history,” appeared in federal court in Maryland Wednesday on charges of conspiracy, fraud and illegally engaging in the insurance business.

Milton Tillman Jr. and his son, Milton Tillman III, were named in a multicount indictment unsealed shortly before they appeared in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, accused of using their company, 4 Aces Bail Bonds, to conceal Mr. Tillman Jr.’s control of the business and illegally funnel large sums of money to themselves.

Between 2001 and 2006, court records show, the company’s gross receipts reported to the IRS went from $188,337 to $5.8 million.

According to the indictment, Mr. Tillman Jr., a member of the International Longshoremen’s Association AFL-CIO, collected 64 payroll checks for a no-show job at the Port of Baltimore and illegally engaged in the insurance business - based on his convictions for attempted bribery of a public official and tax fraud in 1993 and 1996.

Mr. Tillman Jr. and his son have owned more than 20 companies and more than $10 million in real estate in Baltimore and surrounding areas. It was at a federal jury trial in 2003 involving a drug-related shooting of Mr. Tillman III that a former federal prosecutor labeled Mr. Tillman Jr. “one of the most notorious drug dealers in Baltimore City history.”

The Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office tried unsuccessfully to prosecute him for fraudulent use of property as collateral in the bail bonds business in 2007. In 2008, Baltimore City Paper wrote a series of articles exposing Mr. Tillman Jr.’s ties to underworld figures and politicians alike. Federal authorities raided his various properties and business addresses that same year.

More than a dozen Democratic Maryland politicians received $8,250 from three of Mr. Tillman Jr.’s companies since 2001, including state Delegate Talmadge Branch, state Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden, State Sen. Catherine E. Pugh, former Baltimore City State’s Attorney Stuart O. Simms and State Comptroller Peter Franchot, who returned a $1,000 contribution after Mr. Tillman Jr.’s properties were raided in 2008.

One of Mr. Tillman Jr.’s businesses, Total Male, a clothing store, was a business nexus for convicted drug trafficker Shawn Green, who was sentenced this week to 12 years in prison in an unrelated drug-trafficking case. The business also was tied to Noel Liverpool, a former Morgan State University basketball and football star who, according to government records, also had underworld connections.

Search-warrant returns in the Tillman investigation say federal agents were seeking tax or real estate information about a company called Capers LLC, which lists both Mr. Liverpool and Mr. Tillman III as board members. Capers LLC owns the liquor license at a Baltimore tavern called Five Mile House, a well-known hangout for drug dealers, law enforcers and politicians.

Court records also show that Querida Lewis, convicted in 2009 of moving drugs from Mexico to Baltimore via McAllen, Texas, sold a house to a Baltimore man in 2004, persuaded the man to rent the house to Mr. Tillman Jr. and continued to use the house as a residence and business address. Mr. Tillman Jr. stopped paying rent soon after Ms. Lewis was arrested.