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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Lesson of Jones Plea: Use a Private Courier

The Honorable Cleveland Councilman Joe Jones (D-Ward 1) pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a federal felony charge of mail fraud. According to the Plain Dealer,

Jones pleaded guilty to mail fraud involving a $5,000 interest- free loan he got from Gray. Jones didn't mention the loan on his state-required financial disclosure statement, which he mailed to Columbus in 2003. The loan was repaid in full. Though prosecutors argued that the no-interest loan showed a pattern of how Gray cultivated people for possible future use, there was no allegation that Jones subsequently performed any illegal act to benefit Gray.

Filing a false financial disclosure statement is violation of § 102.02 (D) of the Ohio Revised Code. According to § 102.99, violation of § 102.02 (D) is a first-degree misdemeanor. All of this can be found on the Ohio Ethics Commission's website.

Theoretically, a first-degree misdemeanant in Ohio can be fined up to $1,000 and jailed up to 180 days, but that's rare. The most Councilman Jones probably would have faced would have been a fine and probation. He also would have been able to keep his Council seat.

Instead, Councilman Jones is now a convicted felon. In addition to months of home confinement and a possible fine, Councilman Jones is barred from holding elected office in Ohio for the rest of his life.

What made this state misdemeanor into a federal felony? Councilman Jones put a stamp on his false disclosure statement and sent it through the U.S. Postal Service. That made it mail fraud. So, the next time you need to send papers that you aren't sure are completely accurate, use a private courier. Perhaps Councilman Jones can get a job as a spokesman for Federal Express or UPS.


Blogger Greta (Hooah Wife) said...

Great Point. I am sure you saw the Alcatraz movie with Kevin Bacon - as a kid he stole from a general store that was also a post office.

6:15 PM, August 13, 2005  
Anonymous Jason Sonenshein said...

No, I didn't see that one, but it sounds interesting. Thanks for stopping by, Greta!

10:19 AM, August 16, 2005  
Blogger Gun-Toting Liberal said...

DAYUM! Nice little loophole they nailed him on. Frankly, it's scary how easy it is to commit a felony without even realizing it these days. Just one other example: anybody who legally carries a concealed weapon commits a felony every time they drive anywhere near a school. If they want ya, they're gonna gitchya; pure and simple.

3:34 PM, August 16, 2005  
Blogger Ben said...

With this, the Taft thing, voting problems, etc…

…anyone else think Ohio is becoming the new Florida?

1:16 PM, August 18, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gun-Toting Liberal:

Actual, the Federal "Gun-Free School Zone" laws do not apply to those with concealed weapons licenses/permits.

(B) Subparagraph (A) does not apply to the possession of a firearm--

(i) on private property not part of school grounds;
(ii) if the individual possessing the firearm is licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located or a political subdivision of the State, and the law of the State or political subdivision requires that, before an individual obtains such a license, the law enforcement authorities of the State or political subdivision verify that the individual is qualified under law to receive the license;

But I agree that if they want you, they'll get you.

5:14 PM, August 19, 2005  
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10:57 AM, September 22, 2010  
Anonymous Medical Blog said...

The most Councilman Jones probably would have
faced would have been a fine and probation.

9:49 AM, March 24, 2011  

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