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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Probation for former trader presumed dead nearly 30 years


The former Chicago commodities trader who disappeared from his Highland Park home 32 years ago and was presumed dead was given up to three years probation for fraud and ordered to pay $90,054 in restitution, officials said.
Arthur Gerald Jones was formally sentenced in a Las Vegas courtroom Tuesday morning after pleading guilty last year to one count of fraud stemming from his attempt to apply for a driver’s license with a false name, said Nevada Deputy Atty. Gen. Adam Woodrum.
Jones must also pay back $78,637 to the Social Security Administration that his family received after he was declared dead, Woodrum said. He was ordered to pay $11,417 to an Arizona man whose Social Security number he used, Woodrum said.
Defense Atty. Stephen Stein said Jones could be on probation for less than three years. Jones’ probation officer could ask the courts to end his probation after a year, he said.
“It’s a very fair sentence,” Stein said. “I have no problem with it.”
Jones, 73, was arrested July 19, according to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. The Nevada state attorney general’s office had charged Jones with fraud, burglary, obtaining and using personal identifying information of another person, possession of personal identifying information to establish false status or identity, according to a criminal complaint.
The charges stem from May 19, 2008, when he allegedly went into a Department of Motor Vehicles office in Henderson, Nev., and asked to renew his driver’s license, which identified him as Joseph Richard Sandelli, officials said.
Jones has been living under the name of Sandelli and other aliases since his disappearance in 1979 and has been working in a local sports book for the past 10 years, according to Nevada officials.
Jones was married with three children and held a seat on the Chicago Board of Trade before he was reported missing from Highland Park May 11, 1979.
Authorities believed his disappearance was suspicious; some investigators believed he met with foul play because of gambling debts and “possible organized crime affiliations,” Nevada authorities said.
According to an affidavit filed in Nevada, Jones’ wife of 17 years told investigators that about six months before he disappeared he lost his job at the board of trade as a commodities trader, and had to sell off his seat to pay of gambling debts. In one instance in which he lost $30,000 betting on a basketball game, the affidavit said.
She said he also forged her name on a second mortgage application as he tried to get more cash to pay off his debts, according to the affidavit. Jones’ wife last saw him on May 11, 1979. She told a Tribune reporter in 1979 that her husband “was not himself” in the months before he disappeared, and was particularly “jittery” after the murder of his friend and fellow trader Carl Gaimari.
In an interview with an investigator with the Nevada attorney general’s office, Jones allegedly admitted his real identity and said that he, “left in 1979 without telling anyone and has to date made no contact with anyone from his past.”
According to the affidavit, Jones told investigators that he paid a friend $800 to help him establish a fake identity, and the friend provided him with an Illinois driver’s license, a social security card and an Illinois birth certificate with the name Joseph Richard Sandelli.
Jones told the investigator that he moved to Florida and lived there for about a year before moving to California. He settled in Las Vegas in 1988, where he worked for the Rampart Casino’s Sports Book.
“Suspect claims he changed his identity to get a fresh start,” the affidavit states. Using fingerprints, the investigator connected Jones to a larceny arrest in Boca Raton, Fla., in 1979, two arrests in Naples, Fla., in 1980 and another arrest in Palm Beach, Fla., that year, according to the affidavit.
He was identified as Richard Lage in those arrests, according to the affidavit. Jones, then calling himself Richard Sanders, was arrested in Santa Barbara, Calif., in October 1980. His fingerprints were connected later to arrests in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Westminster, Calif. He was arrested in Henderson, Nev., as Joseph Richard Sandelli in 1992.
A Lake County court declared Jones legally dead in 1986, listing his date of death as the day he disappeared.
Robert Ritacca, the Waukegan attorney who handled the death declaration, declined to comment on Jones’ arrest.
Jones’ wife and three children collected about $47,000 in Social Security benefits as a result, Nevada authorities said.
Jones was ordered held in Nevada on $20,000 bail and released on bond.

http://triblocal.com/highland-park-highwood/2012/01/31/probation-for-former-stockbroker-presumed-dead-nearly-30-years/


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