Sheriff: Son fakes kidnapping to extort drug money from parents

Published: Nov. 2, 2018 at 5:26 PM EDT
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(11/2/2018) - A recent case in which a son faked his own kidnapping to extort money from his parents to spend on drugs shows the lengths someone will go to get their fix, Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell said.

The son is behind bars for exploiting his parents for drugs after pretending to be his own kidnapper.

"It's just one of those bizarre cases," Pickell said.

He explained a woman called his office in October, saying her son had been kidnapped.

"She said my son is being held against his own will for ransom money and I believe he's a drug dealer," Pickell said.

The woman told investigators she hadn't seen or her son in six days. Within that time, she told police someone called asking for $1,000 to free her son and his vehicle. They also called the son's father asking for $500.

Pickell said the mother sent $1,000 through Meijer, where someone came and picked up the ransom.

"Well, when we get into the case, we check all the tapes, the surveillance footage and we see the defendant, Jason, picking up the check himself and driving off on his own car," Pickell said.

Jason Hillier is her son.

"The son is extorting his mother, shaking her down, because he has a drug problem and he needed the money for drugs," Pickell said.

Before they got caught, 40-year-old Hillier and his friend, 20-year-old Michael Forester, allegedly asked his parents for another $150. They set up a meeting time and sheriff's deputies were there to arrest them.

"What could be more frightful to a mother than to find out your son's been kidnapped?" Pickell said.

Hillier and Forester are facing one count each of false pretenses, but Hillier's charge carries a higher sentence.

"It's one of those cases that you just see and you shake your head. You say, 'How in God's name can you do this to your mom and your dad? How do you -- after they raise you, they provide you with everything -- and in the end because of your drug habit you shake them both down for money," Pickell said.

He said the case clearly illustrates again why society needs to find a solution to the opioid crisis.