Aide to Rep. Alcee Hastings convicted of conspiracy, fraud, money laundering; lawyer vows appealby George Bennett | November 7th, 2011
Jones, 55, who lives in Boynton Beach, received a $78,578 salary in 2010 as a top local aide to Hastings while also running a personal injury law firm in Philadelphia.
Jones was convicted of conspiracy, money laundering, 14 counts of wire fraud and 14 counts of mail fraud. His wife, Dona Nichols Jones, 54, was convicted of conspiracy, money laundering, and 14 counts of wire fraud.
Mikel Jones was acquitted of several similar charges involving money his law firm obtained from the city of Philadelphia. His wife was not charged in those counts. Jones’ law firm received a $150,000 loan from the city and a “multimillion-dollar line of credit” from the private New York fund, according to the FBI.
Sentencing has been set for Feb. 7.
Jones attorney David Garvin said this afternoon that “I’m sure that he’s going to appeal because in my opinion there was a lack of evidence that he did anything wrong.”
After Jones was charged in May, Hastings said he suspended his aide but did not say whether Jones was still being paid.
Hastings in July called Jones a “top-flight congressional aide” and “my friend,” but said the charges against Jones had nothing to do with his congressional office and he knew nothing about them.
Today Hastings issued this terse statement:
“Today, I learned that Mikel Jones was found guilty of certain charges against in him in the United States District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He is no longer employed by my Congressional office.”
According to the FBI, Jones obtained a the line of credit from New York-based lender Stillwater for business expenses associated with his law firm. But the FBI said Jones and his wife used a shell company and fraudulent invoices to obtain more than $350,000 for nonexistent expenses. The FBI said the couple “used the fraudulently taken business-loan funds to pay off personal credit card debts and to buy 76ers basketball tickets.”
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