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September 26, 2011

How should one sentence a "dead" man in Vegas?

Though the title of this post might sound like a pitch for a better sequal to The Hangover, the question is actually prompted by this local story headlined "Sentencing set for ‘dead’ man who was hiding in Las Vegas for decades." Here is the backstory:

For a man who has been legally dead for 25 years, Arthur Jones was decidedly alive this morning in a Las Vegas courtroom.  The former Chicago broker made his plea to a Class E felony fraud charge after having been in hiding for 32 years as a casino worker in Las Vegas....

Jones, 73, who is out of custody on $20,000 bail, originally had been charged with four felony counts of false identity, identity theft and fraud.  Jones pleaded to the reduced charges under a deal he worked out with the Nevada Attorney General’s office, which found that he had an interesting story — he disappeared from his Chicago-area home in 1979 and had moved to the Las Vegas area and assumed a new identity.

“He will receive probation, as mandated by law,” Jones’ attorney, Stephen Stein told the judge at the arraignment....  Under the agreement, Jones will make restitution to the Social Security Administration, which will be determined by the court, Stein said. Stein has said Jones could end up paying between $46,000 and $75,000 for Social Security fraud....

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.

Readers are, of course, highly encouraged to suggest both sentencing terms and/or sentencing jokes for Mr. Jones.  Perhaps we should have a blog contest to finish the sentence "What happens in Vegas..."

September 26, 2011 at 04:30 PM | Permalink


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Ummm, if it's wife and children who collected the SSA and there was no contact between him and them in the meantime why exactly is he being ordered to pay restitution? If the above is true then he derived absolutely no benefit, and indeed would have been harmed by the disappearance in that he lost whatever SSA benefits had accrued to him at that point. Of course if there was contact then by all means, but charge the wife and possibly kids too.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Sep 26, 2011 5:32:10 PM

Death is where it's at.


P.S. See ya later.

Posted by: Elvis | Sep 28, 2011 4:41:47 PM

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