LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – A former Chicago commodities broker who disappeared in suspicious circumstances in 1979, possibly fleeing the mob, was found working in a Las Vegas casino and arrested on fraud charges, court documents said on Friday.
Arthur Gerald Jones, now 72, was found working as a sports book writer at the Rampart Casino in the upscale Las Vegas neighborhood of Summerlin, a job he had held for a decade, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles said.
The DMV said Jones disappeared over three decades ago from Highland Park, Illinois, and that police believed then that he may have been a victim of foul play, citing gambling debts and possible links to organized crime. He was later declared dead.
But after Jones resurfaced, a DMV investigator concluded that he had “voluntarily left his family and friends in 1979, possibly fleeing the mob” to start a new life, an affidavit by investigator Doug Staubs said.
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. He then decided to leave his family, citing a troubled marriage, unemployment, and a desire for a “fresh start”, the affidavit showed.
But 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.
She said he appeared nervous the day he disappeared.
Jones, who was found living under the name Joseph Richard Sandelli, was declared dead in 1986, and his wife and three children collected Social Security benefits worth $47,000 as a result.
He was being held on four felony charges related to identity theft and fraud.
The DMV said he claimed to have purchased a false Illinois driver’s license, birth certificate and Social Security card for $800 before slipping out of Chicago for Florida. He spent time in California before settling in Las Vegas in 1988.
Jones later used those documents to obtain a Nevada driver’s license, the DMV said. DMV spokesman Kevin Malone said Jones appeared to have posted $20,000 bail and was released from custody.
(Reporting by Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Greg McCune)
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