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Broward County Bounty Hunter Arrested

1/30/2001

TALLAHASSEE – A Broward County man who convinced local sheriff's deputies to allow him to break into a bond jumper's home was arrested today for acting as a bail bondsman without a license, said Florida Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher.

Stephon Wilfred Minnis, 38, of 3565 Maggellan Circle #331, Aventura, also was charged with perjury in an official proceeding. He surrendered this morning to Department of Insurance fraud investigators at the Broward County Jail. Bond was set at $2,000.

Last April 29, Minnis identified himself as a bail bondsman to Broward County Sheriff's deputies and provided a sworn statement in support of a search warrant for a criminal investigation. Based on Minnis' false representation, the deputies allowed him to break into a Fort Lauderdale apartment in search of a purported bond violator.

Bail bondsmen in Florida are licensed by the Department of Insurance and have the authority to enter a home in order to return a bond violator to jail, but Minnis is not licensed and as a convicted felon would not be eligible for one.

Minnis faces up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

The Department of Insurance, Division of Insurance Fraud, investigates various forms of fraud in insurance, including health, life, auto, property and workers' compensation insurance. Anyone with information about this case or another possible fraud scheme should call the department's Fraud Hotline at 1-800-378-0445. A reward of up to $25,000 is offered for information leading to a conviction.