SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California corrections officials dangled an attractive offer Saturday before hundreds of parolees who have become fugitives: Turn yourself in, get a $200 reward and qualify for an amnesty program.
Authorities said 81 who showed up in Oakland were sorry they did.
Instead of getting a check, they soon found themselves in handcuffs and, for most, headed back to state prison for violating their parole.
Agents set up the elaborate ruse with its own website and e-mail account. They appointed an agent to the fictitious post of “amnesty program director.” They sent 2,700 letters to relatives of parolees-at-large advertising the reward and fake amnesty program.
The sting was aimed at some of the more than 14,000 California ex-convicts who broke off contact with their parole agents, are suspected of committing new crimes or of violating terms of their parole.