Illegal bounty hunter poses as federal agent www.privateofficer.com
Illegal bounty hunter poses as federal agent http://www.privateofficer.com
Authorities said Mark Antonio Johnson, 41, ran an illegal bounty hunter operation and went to extremes to look like he was a federal agent, including using a bogus uniform and bogus badge. Police said Johnson did use a real gun.
“He’s a scam artist,” said DeKalb police spokesperson Mekka Parrish. “He was posing as a federal agent and he was basically just going around scamming people.”
Police said Johnson operated the ultimate illegal bounty hunter business called FRET — or Fugitive Retrieval Enforcement Team. And he looked the part, authorities said.
He had a uniform, a gun, a photo ID with an agent number, business cards listing himself as a unit commander and a badge with the FRET name on it.
The first problem with Johnson, police said, is that the business isn’t licensed. Police said the second problem is that Johnson is a convicted felon so he’s not allowed to have a weapon. Authorities said Johnson posed as a federal agent and may have made arrests.
“At this point, it is possible that he did arrest two people as a bounty hunter,” said Parrish.
Police said they became aware of Johnson after he obtained two real government license plates for his SUV. His vehicle had official-looking decals and a fake DOT number on the back. Officials said Johnson successfully posed as an officer at the tag office and convinced them.
“Even went so far as to put, ‘Call 911 in case of an emergency.’ So it certainly at one glance, you would think this would be a legitimate federal agent,” said Parrish.
Johnson faces a list of charges including felonies for impersonating an officer and conspiring to defraud the state.
“There are some other people he would scam to get their ID and make up fake documents,” said Parrish.
Johnson could also face charges for writing bad checks to his employees who may not have known the business was illegal.
His first court appearance will be Saturday. He is being held at the DeKalb County Jail.
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