Earl Jones was born in Montreal on June 24, 1963. He started to work at Montreal TRUST for over 16 years; he worked 8-10 different positions including investment management, estates, trust administration, will planning and manager of the mortgage department. In 1970 Jones left the company to start his own business, he began holding courses on taking care of finances. He then launched a company he called “Earl Jones Consultant and Administration Corporation, an administrative and financial advising” (Gazette, 2010). He began to make withdrawals from his bank account, into which he deposited his client’s money. Earl Jones is a “White Collar Criminal” which is “members of the rich and powerful who used their positions for personal gain ignoring the law and the consequences for others. He surmised that white-collar criminals damaged the social relations between citizens and their government, clients and professionals and consumers and corporations” (Sutherland, 1940). Earl Jones grew up in a family whom barley made it by with money, this contributed to his personality later in life. Earl Jones felt the need to fulfill his desires of better schools for their children, keeping up the appearance of greater wealth than he was able to afford as a status symbol (Sutherland, 1940).
Earl Jones scheme works by simply paying old investors the funds collected with new investors. The fraud can only continue just as long as there was a continued flow of new investors. Jones had made a promise to his clients that they will achieve an above normal rate of return. (Moffatt, 2012). In 2005 Jones set up nine mortgages valued nearly two million dollars; he convinced many of his clients to re-mortgage their homes. In 2008 he switched to, a commercial account, he still continued to print ‘in trust’ on cheques he was using with clients.
Earl Jones had claimed to be a financial advisor. All the payments he had made showed as an administrative expensive. Jones convinced clients that he would invest their funds to generate high returns with little or no risk. Earl Jones seemed like a very friendly and trustworthy guy. Investors considered him to be a part of the family, most calling him “Uncle Jones”. Jones targeted his family and his immediate circle of friends, then he started to convince widows with a paid off house to take out a new mortgage so he could invest the loan and get a higher return (Maclellan, 2009).
Many people have been hurt in Earl Jones scheme; obviously the initial victims lost their money and were very angry. His family lost the most in this scheme. His wife and daughters experienced many emotions from anger to losing all hope to depression and disappointment. His family knew him as a loving husband, devoted father, and a respected member of the community. When his wife and daughters had figured out what he was really about, they stated him “as a man we can scarcely believe exists” (CBCNEWS, 2009). Jones had left his family with zero financial means to face the future; his family now needs to become members of local charities, to have basic needs such as food and medication, they also need to worry about finding places to sleep.
Earl Jones was sentenced to eleven years in prison. He has pleaded guilty to scamming 158 clients of $50 million dollars in the scheme he had operated for over more than two decades. The punishment does not fit his crime, he had ruined several people’s lives, not only robbing them of their money, but he took their freedom and self-esteem (The Gazette, 2010). In comparison to the punishment given to American Ponzi scheme Bernard Madoff who was sentenced 150 years in jail which is the maximum sentence allowed, Bernard pleaded guilty of 11 felony counts including security fraud, money laundering and perjury. Bernard has scammed clients of $65 billion dollars (New York Times, 2013). Jones sentence does not seem appropriate seeing as he has stolen $50 million dollars from his clients and would have continued this scheme if he was not caught.
According to ‘Theories and History of enterprise/white collar crimes’ the theory “Rational Choice – Need” is appropriate for Earl Jones conduct because “some individuals are driven by psychological or financial needs to commit crime. Executives may feel the need to keep up the appearance of greater wealth than they are able to afford as a status symbol, or to stroke their egos. Blue collar workers may feel the need to take things to augment their incomes to keep pace with inflation” (Sutherland, 1940). Earl Jones grew up in a family that could barely get by, making him become a needy person in the future, always wanting more. Earl Jones had stolen millions of dollars from his loved ones and his close friends, this proves that he would do anything for money and always wanted to be looked at as a rich person whom always kept up his appearance and style.
The Gazette. (2010). Earl Jones Scandal. Retrieved from: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/earl-jones/index.html
Sutherland, E. (1940). White Collar Criminality. Handout presented at SOCS10261G, Sheridan College, Oakville.
Moffatt, M. (2012). Ponzi Scheme. Retrieved from: http://economics.about.com/od/financialmarkets/f/ponzi_scheme.htm
Macelellan, N. (2009). Earl Jones – A Canadian Ponzi. Retrieved from: http://beforeyouinvest.ca/2009/07/earl-jones-canadian-ponzi/
CBCNEWS. (2009) Ponzi Scheme Suspects Family express ‘Grief, Shame’. Retrieved from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2009/07/20/earl-jones-family-statement.html
The New York Times. (2013). Bernard L. Madoff. Retrieved from: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/bernard_l_madoff/index.html