Ira Judelson, Bail Bondsman to the Stars

This New York bail bondsman has helped bail rappers, NFL players and comedians out of jail.
6:41 | 09/04/14

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Transcript for Ira Judelson, Bail Bondsman to the Stars
Numbers in Hollywood. And no, he is not a celebrity, he is the one they call when they land behind bars. And his high profile clients are often involved in high stakes cases from famous singers to infamous stars. Everybody needs help sometimes and that is where this guy comes in. Here is in co-anchor, Dan Abrams. Reporter: Some celebrities have drivers to take them around the block. Like Rihanna, who keeps fit with a trainer. But only a few select celebrities have had to employ this guy, Ira judelson, the guy no celebrity is proud to call. A bail bondsman to the stars. I do a job that requires people to come to me. And they're so scared and they're shaken up, and they can hardly think. Reporter: Ira says that like Ja rule's hit song, on time, he was on time for Ja rule when he needed bail. I become a counselor or priest, and then I come in and fix their problem. Reporter: From Plaxico Burress, to the infamous Dominique strauss-kahn, bail bondsmen like Ira make money by charging a fee to cover the bail set by a judge. But if someone skips town, Ira is on the hook to the court for the entire amount. So he sits somewhere between an insurance agent, legal loan shark and a bank. So are you a bank? In the nicest term I am a bank, and I take collateral to support whatever I do to ensure the court that they're coming back. Reporter: He takes us to his New York City office where he is pleased to show off his work, plastering his walls with the biggest headlines from his clients' cases. Some might call it a hall of shame. For me, it is people I helped out a lot. This is the Ja rule case, I worked with Lindsay lohan to get her into a rehab facility. Reporter: In his new book "The fixer" Ira talks about the bonds, and in his book, Dominique Kahn was his biggest payday. He was charged with attempted rape, sexual assault, and imprisonment, charges that were later dismissed. Do you think many people look at you and say he is the guy that helps bad guys get out? I think they do. Reporter: But is it true? There are times where people walk in and think that, and I just want them to know I have a family to feed also. Reporter: It sounds like it gets personal. My clients become part of my life. I respect them and they respect me. We keep cases even after their cases are over. Reporter: And he talks about guys who worked with him, like rapper fat Joe. I get very close to a client, because you know I start to hear about what goes on in their life. In a case like Joe, he became a friend. Reporter: Although Ira didn't post bail for him he did provide some counseling. He was there for me, with all the experience and wisdom he has and all the knowledge, and as a friend. And as a family he wrote a letter to the judge, a reference letter. He wrote a beautiful letter for me. Reporter: Now, fat Joe is returning the favor, becoming a spokesperson and co-founder for a new app Ira is working on. This right here is perfect because everybody gets jammed up. Reporter: Ira has been in this line of work for almost two decades and it is not without its risks. So the glass partitions you have here, are they bullet-proof? Yes. Reporter: Why? Just in case you get a client that is not happen, in 17 years nothing has ever happened but you never know. Reporter: Ira always seems to have a phone glued to his ear. What are they putting up for collateral, do they have a house? How much is it worth? Reporter: We headed to the courthouse to see him in action. I need you to find out what bar the case is on -- Reporter: You're old school? I'm old school. Hello, your honor, how are you? Everybody knows Ira? Everybody knows Ira. He works at the concession at the train station. I'll let the defendant know, thank you. Reporter: Ira posted a $5,000 bond for a client, not a big payout like one of his celebrity jobs but these smaller bails add up. The big bails, you know, they don't come very often so the small bails are your business. Reporter: And that business has afforded Ira a very comfortable home life. For most people crime doesn't pay, for you it is different. For a lot of people, crime doesn't pay, in my world, crime does pay. Reporter: He lives in this mansion just outside New York City with his wife and children. You're going to do the current events later on, right? Reporter: But being a celebrity bail bondsman means even if you're at home you're on call. Ira's clients are an anxious bunch and he prides himself being at the ready. I'll jump out of bed and go to any jail and courthouse, any time. Reporter: Ira's wife of 15 years and his three children have learned to live with it. At some point, I'm like you need to turn off your phone but at the same time I understand if he turns off the phone he loses the bail, loses the lawyer, we lose sleep. Reporter: But despite the busy life-style, this father is sure to make time to see his kids off to school before another hectic day begins. Give me a kiss. Reporter: For Ira, it is all in a day's work. Are you proud of what you do? Yes, I love what I do. I provide a service to get people out of jail, and give them a chance to get home to their families and fight their case from the outside. Take this phone number down, this is my guy. Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm Dan Abrams in new yorkúrcity. Up next, can your smart

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