Tiffany Li, a California woman, with wealthy friends, family and business associates having ties with China, got bail from a San Francisco Bay Area jail Thursday after posting $35 million. Li paid around $4 million in cash and put up the rest of the value — more than $60 million — in property, reports said.
California courts require a convict to pay double the bail amount if property is used instead of money. Hence, Li has to pay around $64 million because she will pay the majority amount of her bail by posting a property bond.
Li's bail amount shows the wealth her family possesses and authorities worry that this could allow her to escape prosecution. The $35 million bail is the highest ever in San Mateo County’s history, a county official said, according to reports.
Li’s family might be worth between $100 million and $150 million, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told the Los Angeles Times. Li’s attorney, Geoff Carr, said that the huge amount of her bail was raised by Li's friends, family, relatives and business associates of her mother, who had made it big in the Chinese construction business. All of them raised the money and offered up their properties in the San Francisco Bay Area as a guarantee for her release, People reported.
Li is accused of working with her boyfriend Kaveh Bayat and Bayat's friend Olivier Adella to kill Keith Green, the father of her two children. Green was last seen with Li on April 28 at the Millbrae Pancake House, where both of them were discussing a custody dispute over their children, according to prosecutors. Soon after, she allegedly killed Green and his body was found May 11. An autopsy determined that he was killed by a single gunshot.
Li, Adella and Bayat have all been charged with murder, conspiracy and a gun enhancement in the killing of Green. The jury trial of the three is scheduled to begin from Sept. 18, which is likely to last for one to two months, said Wagstaffe, according to reports.
Instances like these have brought the bail system in the U.S. under legal and legislative attack in recent years. Multiple class-action lawsuits have been filed across the country that challenged the constitutionality of requiring defendants to post cash bail to go free before trial. Critics of the system have said that cash bail schemes like the one found in California state court are unfair to the poor suspects who cannot afford to post bail and wealthy defendants like Li, in this case, go free even before the trial, ABC News reported.