A New York-based bounty hunter school is accused of aiding and abetting felons by putting fake New York Police Department and federal badges in their hands, reports the New York Daily News. Students of U.S. Recovery Bureau schools paid $860 to learn how to wield a baton and subdue “fugitives” with pepper spray and cuffs. They were also equipped with realistic-looking badges – design knockoffs of shields from the Police Department and various federal agencies. “The badge has been a symbol of the lawman for hundreds of years,” said John Ulianko of the Federal Protective Service, which helped expose the U.S. Recovery Bureau badge mill.
The Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office charged school founders Ralph Rios and Robert Neves, an ex-NYPD detective, with conspiring to dole out the phony badges at their schools in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Passaic, N.J. Of the schools’ 943 graduates, 78 were convicted felons.