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Bounty Hunter Gets Six Years for Bribing Sheriff’s Officers to Assist Him in Making False Claims That He Caught Fugitives

Trenton New Jersey

Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a bounty hunter who formerly lived in Jersey City was sentenced to prison today for conspiring in a scheme to have sheriff’s officers sign false documents so he could collect additional fees by claiming to capture fugitives who already had been apprehended by police.

He paid the sheriff’s officers for their aid. Two sheriff’s officers previously pleaded guilty to official misconduct and are awaiting sentencing.

Adel Mikhaeil, 50, of Stroudsburg, Pa., was sentenced to six years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Salem Vincent Ahto in Morris County. Mikhaeil pleaded guilty on Jan. 7 to charges of conspiracy, official misconduct, offering an unlawful benefit to a public servant for official behavior, commercial bribery, theft by deception and witness tampering, all of which were contained in a Sept. 30, 2008 indictment obtained by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau.

Mikhaeil admitted that, in addition to the scheme in which he bribed the sheriff’s officers, he paid 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.

The state’s investigation revealed that Mikhaeil conspired with the sheriff’s officers to have them sign false “body receipts” indicating that he had caught fugitives, when, in fact, the fugitives had already been arrested by law enforcement.

While a bounty hunter does receive a fee for a “paper transfer” when he locates a fugitive who already is in custody, the fee is lower than for a physical apprehension by the bounty hunter. 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.

Acting Attorney General Hoffman and Director Honig noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has established a toll-free tip line 1-866-TIPS-4CJ for the public to report corruption, financial crime and other illegal activities.