Fake bounty hunting operation exposed by former team member
UPDATE (June 2, 2017) — Jennifer Johnston pleaded guilty to theft. All other charges against her were dismissed. She was sentenced to 180 days in jail with credit for four days served and 172 days suspended.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 24, 2015)- Hobert Estep was shot in the foot while working for a fake bounty hunting “company” in Indianapolis.
Estep says he was homeless and without a job when Alvino Jones presented him with the opportunity of becoming a bounty hunter.
“My chest is swelled up, I’m thinking that I’m a police officer,” said Estep.
Estep says he was shot by a team member while serving a warrant near 86th Street and Guion Road in November 2014.
“I went with him and we kicked seven doors in,” said Estep.
However, it was all fake and against the law.
“Alvino is a good liar. He made us think that he was following the law,” said Estep.
Jones was his boss at the time. Jones faces roughly 50 charges related to impersonating a bounty hunter.
Court documents say Jones illegally kicked in doors and entered homes. He allegedly stole guns, money, drugs and anything else he could get his hands on, according to Estep.
Estep says Jones used a web of lies to convince him to start bounty hunting.
There are several videos online of Jones leading church services. Estep says that was part of the reason he believed Jones from the start.
Also, Jones had what appeared to be legitimate equipment and a car that looked like the real deal.
“He took advantage of everyone’s situation,” said Estep.
Legitimate bounty hunter’s are licensed through the Indiana Department of Insurance and will most likely be carrying their identification while serving a warrant. Agent Kevin Watkins is a licensed bounty hunter who says more needs to be done to crackdown on impersonators.
“If you don’t have the proper training to do this you shouldn’t be doing it, and if you don’t have the credentials you shouldn’t be identifying yourself as a bail enforcement agent,” said Watkins.
Estep says after he was shot, Jones refused to provide him with his insurance provider. Estep went to the Indiana Department of Insurance to find out for himself. That is when Estep quickly realized he was working for an impostor.
“There is people who get so much power that they think they’re God and then they destroy peoples lives. In this case, Alvino destroyed a lot of lives,” said Estep.
Brian To, Wesley Small, Kenneth Hill and Jennifer Johnston all face charges for their role in the alleged fake bounty hunting scheme.
Estep does not face charges.