A bounty hunter who used to live in Jersey City pleaded guilty to formulating a scheme where Hudson County sheriff’s officers signed false documents so he could collect money for apprehending fugitives that had already been captured by police, Acting Attorney General John Jay Hoffman announced yesterday.
Adel Mikhaeil, 50, who has since moved to Stroudsburg, Pa, also admitted to paying bribes to an insurance company executive, as well as an employee of a company that locates fugitives for bail bond insurers, in return for giving him more business than other bounty hunters, authorities said.
Mikhaeil pleaded guilty in front of Morris County Superior Court Judge Salem Vincent Ahto, conceding to all 11 counts against him from a Sept. 30, 2008 indictment.
Those charges include second-degree charges of conspiracy, two counts of official misconduct, offering an unlawful benefit to a public servant for official behavior and commercial bribery, and third-degree charges of theft by deception, commercial bribery and witness tampering, officials said.
The state agreed to dismiss counts charging second-degree money laundering and third-degree hindering apprehension or prosecution, and previously the state dismissed an additional count of official misconduct, court documents show.
The guilty plea was an open plea, which means that the Attorney General’s Office did not recommend a particular sentence in this case. The second-degree charges come with a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and sentencing is scheduled for February 9, authorities said.
Furthermore, the two Hudson County sheriff’s officers previously pleaded guilty to official misconduct and are awaiting trial.
“This bounty hunter conspired to falsify records so that he could collect higher fees, ultimately at the expense of the state and the counties involved, which received lower bail forfeitures,” Hoffman said in a statement.
“The fact that he paid two sheriff’s officers to violate their duties and participate in his corrupt scheme makes this case particularly egregious and warrants a lengthy prison term.”