Angry clients fume: Why no arrest warrant?
Jones still missing; Police mum on who is leading investigation
BY TERRINE FRIDAY, THE GAZETTEJULY 16, 2009COMMENTS (2)
No warrant has been issued for the arrest of Earl Jones, the disgraced West Island money manager.
Former clients of Earl Jones Consultant and Administration Corp. want to know why.
Jones is alleged to have operated a Ponzi scheme with money from friends, family and investors, fleecing them out of between $50 million and $100 million.
Yesterday, investigators from three police forces refused to answer any of The Gazette’s questions about Jones:
– Why hasn’t an arrest been made?
– Who is handling the investigation: the RCMP, the Sûreté du Québec or Montreal police?
– Is there even an investigation into Jones’s practice?
SQ spokesperson Marc Butz would not confirm whether the provincial police force was in charge of the file.
“For now, it’s not determined who’s going to do the investigation,”
If anyone suspects they are a victim of fraud, Butz said, they should call their local police station.
Stéphane Crête, an SQ investigator in the economic crimes unit, said he attended last weekend’s meeting of Jones’s investors to answer general questions.
The RCMP’s Quebec division would not confirm that there is an investigation under their jurisdiction.
Jerry Coughlan, whose mother dealt with Jones for 30 years, doesn’t know what’s taking the police so long.
If there is a delay, Coughlan said, he hopes it’s because they’re trying to build a strong case against Jones.
“I’d like to see an arrest warrant now based on what they have and then add to it as more information comes in,” Coughlan said.
“If he mugged me on the street, there’d be a charge,” said Charlie Washer, who says Jones duped him out of $125,000.
“It’s like when a child goes missing – the first few hours are the most critical.”
Jones and his wife disappeared last week, and there is speculation he might have left the country.
On Tuesday, a British Airways flight attendant told Global TV he served Jones on a Thursday evening flight to London’s Heathrow airport.
The airline later said no one by the name of Earl Jones or Bertram Jones boarded the flight.
“I would obviously prefer to see an arrest warrant” in case Jones is no longer in Canada and get Interpol
involved, Coughlan said.
In Quebec, pressing charges in cases of white-collar crime is no quick feat.
Vincent Lacroix, founder and ex-CEO of Norbourg Financial Group, was convicted of Quebec securities violations more than two years after police raided his Montreal offices. He bilked more than 9,000 clients out of almost $100 million and is awaiting trial in September on more than 100 fraud and conspiracy charges stemming from an RCMP investigation.
Two years ago, Triglobal president Thémistoklis Papadopoulos made headlines by allegedly investing almost $1 billion of his clients’ money in illegal offshore funds.
No charges were ever filed.