Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Earl Jones could be out as early as the Fall of 2011

Earl Jones pleaded guilty to defrauding 158 clients in a $50 million Ponzi scheme, and he has been sentenced to 11 years in prison. However, because his crime is non-violent, he could get out of prison after serving as little as one-sixth of his sentence, or 22 months.

It has to be galling for Jones’ victims to see him convicted and sentenced to nearly the maximum possible sentence, and yet he could be out in a couple of years. This shows that there never was any hope of a satisfying outcome for the victims, at least as far as punishing Jones goes.

The only (legal) satisfying outcome for the victims is the return of their money. However, selling off Jones’ possessions will only recover a small fraction of the money people thought they had invested.  (As reader Gene pointed out, here is an explanation of why there is no money left even though investors thought they had a lot of money invested.)

The latest hope for the victims is to find some deep pockets to blame. The deep pockets they’ve chosen are the Royal Bank’s. Jones used a Royal Bank account to handle the money for his scheme. I have no idea whether suing the Royal Bank is a desperate move with little foundation or whether Royal Bank did anything wrong, but this seems to be the only path that could allow the victims to get a significant fraction of their money back.


  1. This is a good place to link to your previous post on why there is so little money left when a Ponzi scheme collapses:


  2. Thanks, Gene. I've updated the post.

  3. I wonder what would happen to him if he were to be released early... There were some pretty rough looking scenes where he was getting knocked around even while being guarded by about 10 guards back when this first broke...

  4. Maybe it's better he gets out quickly, that way "Mob Justice" would be more likely to pass judgement? If I was Earl Jones, when I got out of prison, I'd change my name and move somewhere else really quick!

  5. Preet and Big Cajun Man: For the sake of his victims I hope that Jones' release isn't soon and that it is quiet enough that the victims can ignore it and go on about their lives. This is the type of thing that can eat away at victims. Worse would be having one or more of the victims get into serious trouble by trying out some "mob justice".

    What I'd really like to know is whether authorities will try to do anything to prevent Jones from fleecing more people when he gets out. It seems like an impossibility right now because he is so well known, but memory fades and he could move.

  6. $50 million is not bad for 2 years' jail time.