American Police Force’s president Michael Hilton addresses the media during a press conference at the Two Rivers Authority jail Saturday, September 26, 2009.
Here’s an update to the story I reported on last week, about the mysterious police force that has taken over a jail in the small Montana town of Hardin:
Montana’s Attorney General has launched an investigation into the APF:
Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock launched an investigation Thursday into American Police Force, the California company founded by a Serbian immigrant with a lengthy criminal history that is seeking to run an empty, 464-bed jail in Hardin.
Bullock sent a nine-page demand letter late Thursday afternoon to Becky Shay, the spokeswoman for APF and the company’s only Montana employee.
Shay did not immediately respond to phone calls Thursday.
According to the document, Bullock is launching the civil investigation into APF over concerns that the company might be violating the Montana Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act.
This follows revelations that the man behind the APF, Michael Hilton, has a history of legal trouble:
Hilton pleaded guilty in March 1993 to 14 felonies, including 10 counts of grand theft, one count of attempted grand theft and three counts of diversion of construction funds, according to Orange County court records. He was sentenced to two years in prison, but it is unclear how much time he served.
Court records in that case list his real name as Michael Hilton, but they also include the aliases Midrag Ilia Dokovitch, Midrag Ilia Dokovich and Michael Miodrag.
Hilton, who speaks heavily accented English, has told reporters that he is a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Montenegro, a country bordering Serbia, and once part of the former Republic of Yugoslavia.
The emblem for the APF closely matches the Serbian-Montenegro national crest:
Curiouser and curiouser!