North Carolina

NC bondsman fakes drug trafficker’s death in $170,000 mail fraud scheme, officials say

Gavel Photo by Getty Images This is a stock image downloaded from Getty Images. It is a Royalty Free image.
Gavel Photo by Getty Images This is a stock image downloaded from Getty Images. It is a Royalty Free image.

A bail bondsman in North Carolina brokered the deal to pay off a $250,000 bond for an accused drug trafficker who skipped court. Now he’s facing prison time.

Michael Kirk Schon, 48, pleaded guilty to mail fraud after allegedly faking the accused man’s death and nearly defrauding the Guilford County Board of Education in Greensboro, North Carolina — which collects forfeited bail bonds — of $170,000, the U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday.

“(Schon) personally delivered the ‘original’ of the forged and false death certificate to the attorneys representing the Guilford County Board of Education upon being informed by such attorneys that the further payments due under the settlement agreement would be waived and canceled upon inspection of an original copy of the death certificate,” the criminal indictment states.

Schon of Spotsylvania, Virginia was arrested last month and released on a $20,000 bond, court record shows. The Justice Department said he pleaded guilty to mail fraud on Aug. 2 and now faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

According to the indictment, Schon was a licensed bail bondsman by the N.C. Department of Insurance and worked for All American Bail Bonds LLC as a bondsman and director of operations.

When police arrested a man identified in court documents as F.S.L. on drug trafficking charges in 2012, All American Bail Bonds allegedly secured his $250,000 bond. But F.S.L. never showed up for court, officials said, and his bond was forfeited.

Schon helped procure a settlement agreement in 2014 between the Guilford County Board of Education and the insurance company that underwrote the bail bond, court documents show.

Officials said the deal required it be paid in four installments over roughly nine months, but those payments would be reportedly waived should F.S.L. die before they were due.

The insurance company paid the first scheduled payment of $80,000, according to court documents, but FSL was reported dead before the second installment was due. Officials accused Schon of directing an underling, identified in court documents as C.F., to obtain a fake death certificate from a forger in Wilson, North Carolina.

“Michael Kirk Schon instructed C.F. that the forged and false death certificate should represent that F.S.L. had died in a ‘drug deal gone bad,’” the indictment states.

He then received the document from C.F. in the mail and emailed a scan of it to attorneys and the insurance company, officials said.

“Schon procured and provided to the Guilford County Board of Education a false death certificate showing that F.S.L. had died on May 12, 2014, in Sinaloa, Mexico, when in fact F.S.L. was not dead,” the Justice Department said. “Relying on the false death certificate, the Board of Education issued a satisfaction of judgment cancelling the remaining $170,000 in payments.”

Schon is scheduled to be sentenced in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Nov. 19, officials said.

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Hayley is a Real Time reporter at The Charlotte Observer covering breaking news and trending stories in the Carolinas. She also created the Observer’s unofficial bird beat (est. 2015) with a summer full of ornithological-related content, including a story about Barred Owls in love.
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