Thursday, October 08, 2009

American Police Force (APF) Private Investigators Says Job Fair Delayed as Hardin Jail Takeover slows, Mystery ‘Police’ Force Has Small Montana City on Edge

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American Police Force(APF) Says Job Fair Delayed as Hardin Jail Takeover in Limbo
By The Associated Press
Story Published: Oct 8, 2009

BILLINGS, Mont. - A spokeswoman for a California company that had been negotiating to take over management of the Hardin jail says a two-day job fair planned for next week has been delayed.

Becky Shay says it makes no sense for American Police Force to hold the event with the jail takeover in limbo. The 464-bed jail was built as an economic development project, but has not been used since its 2007 completion.
The Two Rivers Authority, the economic development agency that built the jail, initially embraced American Police Force as a savior for the project. However, the jail takeover was put on hold by Hardin officials this week following revelations that the lead figure of American Police Force, Michael Hilton, has an extensive history of fraud in Southern California. His convictions include two grand theft cases and he has civil judgments totaling more than $1.1 million, more from this source....

HARDIN – Michael Hilton, seen as the potential savior of Hardin just two weeks ago, is quickly running out of supporters in the struggling town of 3,500. Hilton is the Serbian-born (note decals above) Californian who has been representing American Police Force as a company interested in leasing Hardin’s empty jail and investing millions in a prison and military training operation.

APF had talked briefly of helping establish a police department in Hardin, and Hilton and several associates showed up 10 days ago in three Mercedes SUVs bearing decals that read “City of Hardin Police Department.” Convery said the commotion caused by APF’s involvement in law enforcement issues forced her to resign as the TRA’s attorney.

Board members said Monday they would have to find a new attorney before considering changes to the contract with APF. They had said before that the contract was approved by the APF and Two Rivers but still needed the signatures of people with U.S. Bank, representing bondholders. Cohen, the man wrongly identified as the director of operations for APF’s planned enterprise in Hardin, said he was still shaking his head Monday. “I feel sorry for everyone up there in Montana,” he said. “He’s (Hilton) scamming everyone up there.” more from this source………..

Mystery 'Police' Force Has Small Montana City on Edge
Thursday, October 08,

When two brand new, shiny black Mercedes SUVs bearing a "Hardin Police Department" logo drove through the main thoroughfare of Hardin, Mont., last week, people took notice. “How many police forces have Mercedes?” said Charlene Warren, a local business owner who has lived in Hardin for more than half a century. “That threw up a red flag.”

And speaking of flags, it did not go unnoticed that the emblem on the sides of the SUVs bore a strong resemblance to the Serbian national flag. Furthermore, those "police department" cars were rolling through Hardin, a small southeastern Montana town of 3,600 that just happens not to have a police department.

Click here for a video.

The luxury vehicles that rolled through town belonged to the American Police Force (APF), a California-based security firm that is drafting a contract that will give it control over a $27 million medium-security prison that was built in Hardin more than two years ago, but has never held any prisoners. But that contract is now on hold as the Montana State Attorney General’s Office investigates APF and the Big Horn County Sheriff's Department enters preliminary talks about incorporating a real police department in Hardin so a similar episode doesn’t occur in the future.

We have covered this story for years now, and for the last month, it’s been one twist and turn from the other” Nick Lough, a reporter at KULR-8 in Billings, Mont., told

The latest twist: The owner of APF, Michael Hilton, is a convicted felon, including two convictions in grand theft cases, and an alleged con-artist who, according to some sources, utilizes more than 20 aliases, more from this source.............