Las Vegas Sun

September 23, 2014

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Dead’ man hiding in Las Vegas for decades makes deal, lawyer says

Arthur Jones was arrested July 19 and charged with four felony counts of false identity, identity theft and fraud.

Arthur Jones was arrested July 19 and charged with four felony counts of false identity, identity theft and fraud.

A man who had been hiding out in Las Vegas for 32 years and was declared legally dead has made a deal with the Nevada Attorney General’s office in which he will get probation and pay restitution, his attorney said this morning.

Arthur Jones, 72, who has been charged with felony false identity, identity theft and fraud, waived his right today to a preliminary hearing in Las Vegas Justice Court and will plead guilty to one Class E felony offense next month in Clark County District Court, said his attorney, Stephen Stein.

Jones, who has been out of custody on $20,000 bail since he was arrested in July, will be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 12 and will plead guilty to a fraud charge that is expected to get him up to five years of probation, Stein said.

Jones was living in Las Vegas under the alias of Joseph Sandelli and is believed to have used that name since his disappearance from Highland Park, Ill., in 1979. His arrest came after a complaint regarding the fraudulent use of a Social Security number.

The reason for his disappearance was unclear but authorities in Chicago said he might have met some trouble because of gambling debts and possible organized crime affiliations. Stein said the reasons for his disappearance will be revealed later.

Jones was declared legally deceased in 1986 and his wife and children collected Social Security benefits as a result. Investigators say Jones obtained a false Illinois driver's license, birth certificate and Social Security number he claims to have purchased in 1979 for $800 in Chicago. He allegedly used the documents to get a Nevada driver's license in 1988.

Stein said besides getting probation, Jones is expected to have to pay restitution, which will be determined by the courts. However, he said Jones could end up paying between $46,000 and $75,000 for Social Security fraud.

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  1. Jail downtown will costs the taxpayers at least $30,000/year or more, so one has to decide:

    1. Will the individual be fined?
    2. Will the public be fined?

    Keeping him out of jail prevents the public from being fined and the can be used instead to keep a Community Center open. Good idea.

    And where is a 72 year old going to get $46,000 to $75,000? Where is the justice in pouncing on old bones to soak them for money that doesn't exist? Or does it?

    Why couldn't his wife work? She was young enough. Social Security payouts should be limited. This guy didn't write the SS rules, nor did he apply for benefits.

  2. Now I agree this man really has done nothing that hurt the public.

    He has lived as an nice upstanding life for the last 32 years, making a living, not using public money. Ok, he used false documents and he paid taxes.

    Now, how about the 11 million people that come across the border and live here. They use false documents but many of them end up sucking up on public assistance. Taking up space in our public schools, costing us more because their kids don't speak English so we spend money and slow down classes to care for them.

    Do they have to pay fines? Do they have to pay the system back? Are they on probation?

    Seems we are enforcing the rules different for those that are U.S. citizens and those that are not. The Citizens are get taken to court. The criminals get deals that let them enjoy what citizens pay for.

  3. I can empathize with Mr. Jones. People have been telling me that I'm dead for decades.

  4. From a practical standpoint this is an instance where I'm 100% in agreement with Jon. If he committed his original crime in Illinois let them house and feed him. I can't see any benefit of any kind by putting this guy in our system and paying to house him. Better to let him out on probation and work for restitution and maybe have a couple sheckles to educate the kids or maybe help support the Nevada Veteran's Home.

  5. Wasn't it the Newmont Carlin mine that grossed $360 million and had enough deductions to zero out their taxes? Jones didn't have lobbyists to pass a personal tax law, or $500/hour tax lawyers to consult and defend him, so to the IRS he is 'fair game'. Whipping a bag of potatoes never made the crop grow faster the next year and this exercise has cost enough. Alls quiet about Whitey Bulger too - from the last story, it sounded like he had more on the FBI then they had on him.