Suburban man once thought dead arrested in Vegas

July 22, 2011 4:46:06 PM PDT
A Chicago trader who was declared dead after he vanished in 1979 has turned up alive in Las Vegas with a fake name.

In this Intelligence Report: Federal authorities say fear of the mob prompted Arthur Jones to leave his job and family.

On May 11, 1979, in north suburban Highland Park, Arthur Jones walked out on his wife and three children without an explanation or a goodbye. Now, it appears Jones was "fleeing the mob" more than three decades ago.

From the Midwest, to the southeast, to the Pacific west, Jones' odyssey was accomplished with aliases and fake IDs until he his past caught up with him this week in Las Vegas.

A bookie war was under way in Chicago in the late 1970s and early 80s. It was a struggle between outfit and independent bookmakers in which bettors and bookies alike ended up dead.

That was the backdrop when Arthur G. Jones disappeared in 1979. He had lost his job at the Board of Trade, forced to sell his seat to cover giant gambling debts, according to his wife at the time. She told investigators that he once bet $30,000 on a basketball game and had taken to working as a messenger for the mob.

This week, Nevada state authorities found Jones working at the Rampart Casino in Las Vegas, under the alias Joseph R. Sandelli. He was working in the sports book section of the casino.

"The Social Security Administration came to us looking for some assistance in locating him," said Kevin Malone, Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. "They were investigating a tip about fraudulent use of a Social Security number and it turns out that Mr. Jones had a valid Social Security number that was issued to someone else all together."

According to the criminal complaint charging Jones with the use of false identification, state agents conclude that he was "fleeing the mob" in Chicago and left in 1979 because he was "starting a new life."

Investigators say Jones admitted coming to a business near the Chicago Board of Trade in 1979 and paying $800 for a fake identity.

Under at least three different aliases, some with Illinois Social Security numbers, Jones said he lived in several cities in Florida, California and Nevada -- where he was arrested at least seven times -- and until this week in Las Vegas. Not one law enforcement agency managed to expose the secret of who he really was.

If the mob was after Jones for wagering debts he couldn't pay, something that happened to one of his friends might have convinced Jones to disappear. The friend, also a commodities trader, was murdered inside his Inverness home two weeks earlier in 1979.

After Jones was declared dead, his family received $47,000 dollars in Social Security benefits. His wife, now remarried, did not return the I-Team's calls.


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