Nation/World


Award ruse snares scores of fugitives

SUNDAY, MAY 16, 2010

Two  parolees lie on the floor after being arrested in a sting operation in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday.  (Associated Press)
Two parolees lie on the floor after being arrested in a sting operation in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday. (Associated Press)

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.


 

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