Earl Jones gets 11-year sentence for orchestrating massive fraud scheme
MONTREAL (CP) — Disgraced financial adviser Earl Jones received an 11-year sentence for orchestrating a massive fraud scheme Monday, and even those who once loved him were wishing a worse fate for him.
“He can rot in hell,” said Bevan Jones, who came to the courthouse to watch his brother get sent away.
Victims of the Ponzi schemer had hoped to see him slapped with the maximum 14-year sentence and were dismayed by the deal reached between prosecutors and his attorneys.
He will be eligible to apply for parole after serving one-sixth of his sentence — meaning he could request to be released from prison after 22 months.
Several victims wondered how Jones, who’d masterminded a pyramid scheme over three decades, could possibly have been spared the maximum sentence allowed by the law.
“Earl Jones preyed on us in the most intimate and basic way. We trusted him, we put our trust in him,” said Ginny Nelles, who saw her family’s entire savings wiped out by Jones.
“Earl Jones was our friend, he was our uncle, he was somebody who was there for us. And he ended up violating me, my moth- er and every single member of our group.”
Jones, 67, sat in the prisoner’s dock with his head buried in his hands as the judge handed down the sentence.
He pleaded guilty last month to running a pyramid scheme that started in 1982 and included at least 158 victims, including several close friends and relatives.
The judge was unsparing in her remarks Monday.
“Some victims call him a liar, a demon, a parasite, a snake, a financial predator and a social sociopath, as he promised them that their money was not only to be safe with him but growing,” said Quebec court Judge Helene Morin.
“He stole from both the rich and the poor with no conscience.”
His criminal proceedings heard that he never invested a penny of the money he collected from his former clients.
The $50-million scam cost many people their entire life savings and none of the money has been recovered.
But Morin made a point to make sure Jones understood what his victims are not just suffering financially: she said all have suffered from insomnia and many have seen their health rapidly deteriorate.