Law | National

'Creepy' Eastern Cherokee bail bondsman pleads guilty for abuse

A citizen of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians who served as a bail bondsman on the reservation in North Carolina has pleaded guilty for abusing at least one woman.

According to court documents, Phillip Sampson Armachain, Sr., posted bond for a woman -- identified as "AB" -- at the tribe's detention facility sometime in November 2016. He told her he would "forgive the fee" if she engaged in sexual activity with him, a factual basis reads.

"AB was very familiar with bond procedures and feared that if she did not have intercourse with the defendant he would surrender her back into custody," the document states.

Though he initially disputed the charge, Armachain pleaded guilty in January to one count of “obtaining the labor and services of AB by means of the abuse and threatened abuse of law and legal process," according to court documents. The crime carries a maximum sentence of 20 years and a $250,000 fine, The Smoky Mountain News reported.

Phillip Sampson Armachain, Sr.

Armachain also has been charged with four additional counts in connection with three other victims. Two were adult women and one was the daughter of the one of the adult victims, according to the second superseding indictment.

In the case of the adult women, Armachain posted bond for them and coerced them into sexual activity, an FBI agent said in a sworn affidavit.

In the case of the minor, Armachain allegedly sexually abused her when she came to his bail bonds office to make payments on behalf of her mother, who knew about the abuse but failed to report it, according to a factual basis. She pleaded guilty in January to misprision of felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of three years, The News reported.

Even though Armachain has only been charged in connection with four victims, tribal police have identified "over ten additional females" with whom he allegedly engaged in similar patterns of abuse, the FBI affidavit states. He would pay their bonds and engage in sexually charged behavior with them, the agent said.

Additionally, tribal police have found "over 10 additional females" who borrowed money from Armachain at "one hundred percent interest," according to the affidavit. In order to get paid back, he took the money out of their per capita checks, or their shares of the tribe's gaming revenues, the FBI agent stated.

"Armachain has a reputation as being a 'pervert' and 'creepy,'" the document reads. "Many of the females interviewed expressed fear of being alone with Armachain and displayed emotional pain regarding the extortion of sexual acts to get out of jail or to pay off loans."

Read More on the Story:
Cherokee bail bondsman pleads guilty in sexual extortion case (The Smoky Mountain News March 28, 2018)
Arrests, convictions, predatory behavior plague North Carolina’s bail bond industry (NC Policy Watch March 22, 2018)