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Wednesday, 28 June 2017 15:33

Armachain pleads not guilty

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A bail bondsman who faces federal charges for sexual abuse of a minor has been detained at the Buncombe County Detention Center since his arrest May 10 after waiving his original detention hearing, but he will present a case for his release during a detention hearing scheduled for July 5. 

“When he was originally arrested, Mr. Armachain did not ask for a detention hearing because he did not have any of the facts the government was using against him yet,” said Tony Scheer, Armachain’s attorney. “We’ve begun to investigate the case and we’re now ready to have a hearing where we can offer the judge some additional facts.” 

Phillip Armachain, 50, of Cherokee, was arrested following a criminal complaint alleging that he had pressured some female clients to repay their debts — for bail bonds and loans offered at 100 percent interest rates — with sex. The complaint also alleged that he had required one of his clients to send her teenage daughter inside to get the money from him. While she was inside, the complaint alleged, he would touch her genitals. 

The indictment dropped charges related to Armachain’s dealings with adult clients, but he faces three counts of sexual abuse of a minor at least four years younger due to his alleged interactions with the teenager in August 2016. The girl was between the ages of 12 and 16. 

If convicted, Armachain could face a maximum sentence of 15 years on each count, for a total of 45 years. Armachain has entered a plea of not guilty.

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