ORANGE, Calif. – Former police officers Rodger Jeffrey Corbett, 49, of Corona, and Kevin Andrew Pedersen, 34, of Fullerton, will be arraigned on three felony counts each of kidnapping, false imprisonment by violence, menace, fraud or deceit and enhancement with firearm in the commission of a felony. This comes after the Orange County Grand Jury heard sworn testimony and indicted Corbett and Pedersen for their conduct working illegally as bail fugitive recovery persons, more commonly known as bounty hunters. Their arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday, June 29.
The California Department of Insurance began an investigation after seeing a social media video of Corbett and Pederson attempting to locate a subject who had missed court appearances. The video misidentified them as undercover police officers. However, a joint probe by the Department of Insurance and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Unit found that Corbett and Pedersen were former police officers who had not completed the requirements to be bail fugitive recovery persons and were operating in that capacity unlawfully. Corbett and Pedersen allegedly forcibly kidnapped and handcuffed the girlfriend of the subject they were seeking and drove her around for several hours. They both were visibly armed at the time of the alleged kidnapping.
While bounty hunters are required under the Bail Fugitive Recovery Persons Act (California Penal Code 1299) to undergo training and meet other conditions, unlike bail agents and sureties who hire them they are not required to be licensed by the Department of Insurance or any other agency. Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and the Department of Insurance are sponsoring Assembly Bill 2043, authored by Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer, to require bail fugitive recovery persons be licensed and require better oversight by the Department and by both the licensed bail agents and sureties that utilize them in apprehending subjects.
The Department is continuing the investigation into the hiring of the unpermitted bail fugitive recovery persons by the licensed bail agent. This case is being prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Special Prosecutions Unit.