Missing Chicago trader who resurfaced gets probation for fraud

LAS VEGAS Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:29pm EST

Related Topics

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - A former Chicago commodities trader who disappeared in 1979 in murky circumstances and was found last year working in a Las Vegas casino was fined nearly $90,000 on Tuesday but was spared jail time for fraud, authorities said.

Arthur Gerald Jones, 73, who was arrested in July after he was discovered living under an assumed name, admitted to one count of fraud in September stemming from a driver's license application.

Jones had disappeared over three decades earlier from Highland Park, Illinois. Police believed at the time that he might have been a victim of foul play, citing gambling debts and possible links to organized crime, according to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

He was declared dead in 1986.

But earlier this year, Jones was found working at the Rampart Casino in an upscale Las Vegas neighborhood, a job he had held for a decade, the Nevada vehicles department said at the time of his arrest.

Jones, who had originally had been charged with four felony charges related to identify theft and fraud, will serve three years of probation on a suspended 18- to 48-month jail term, the Nevada attorney general's office said in a statement.

He was ordered to pay roughly $90,000 in fines, the bulk of that to the Social Security Administration for payments made to his family after he was declared dead. Of the total, another $11,400 will go to a man whose identity Jones stole.

After Jones resurfaced, an investigator concluded that he had "voluntarily left his family and friends in 1979, possibly fleeing the mob" to start a new life, according to an affidavit.

Jones, who once held a seat on the Chicago Board of Trade, told authorities that following a trading mistake, he had been forced to sell his seat to pay his debt, the affidavit said.

He then decided to leave his family, citing a troubled marriage, unemployment, and a desire for a "fresh start," according to the affidavit.

His former wife gave a different story, telling authorities he sold his seat to pay personal gambling debts. She said he once bet $30,000 on a basketball game and at one point took out a second mortgage to pay gambling debts, the affidavit said.

(Editing by Tim Gaynor)

FILED UNDER: