MORRISTOWN, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey authorities say a bounty hunter has admitted his role in a scheme to have sheriff’s officers sign false documents so he could collect additional fees by claiming to capture fugitives who had already been apprehended.
Acting state Attorney General John Hoffman says 50-year-old Adel Mikhaeil, a former Jersey City resident who now lives in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty Wednesday to eleven counts, including conspiracy, bribery and official misconduct.
The pleas came as Mikhaeil was about to stand trial, and he now faces a lengthy prison term when he’s sentenced Feb. 9. Hoffman said it was an open plea, meaning his office didn’t agree to recommend a particular sentence.
Mikhaeil paid the two sheriff’s officers for their assistance. Both have pleaded guilty to official misconduct and are awaiting sentencing.
Hoffman said Mikhaeil conspired with the officers to have them sign false “body receipts,” indicating that he had caught fugitives, when they had already been arrested by law enforcement. As a result, Mikhaeil collected higher fees from the insurance companies that insured the fugitives’ bail bonds.
Bounty hunters receive a fee for a “paper transfer” when they locate a fugitive who is already in custody, but that fee is lower than the amount they would get for a physical apprehension.
The false body receipts also led to a reduction in the amount of bail forfeited, resulting in savings for the bail bond insurers but a loss to the counties where the fugitive jumped bail and the state, which divide forfeited funds.
Mikhaeil also admitted paying bribes to an insurance company executive and an employee of a company that locates fugitives for bail bond insurers in return for giving him more business.
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