Las Vegas Sun

February 27, 2017

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Dead’ man hiding in Las Vegas for decades makes deal, lawyer says

Arthur Jones was arrested July 19 and charged with four felony counts of false identity, identity theft and fraud.

Arthur Jones was arrested July 19 and charged with four felony counts of false identity, identity theft and fraud.

A man who had been hiding out in Las Vegas for 32 years and was declared legally dead has made a deal with the Nevada Attorney General’s office in which he will get probation and pay restitution, his attorney said this morning.

Arthur Jones, 72, who has been charged with felony false identity, identity theft and fraud, waived his right today to a preliminary hearing in Las Vegas Justice Court and will plead guilty to one Class E felony offense next month in Clark County District Court, said his attorney, Stephen Stein.

Jones, who has been out of custody on $20,000 bail since he was arrested in July, will be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 12 and will plead guilty to a fraud charge that is expected to get him up to five years of probation, Stein said.

Jones was living in Las Vegas under the alias of Joseph Sandelli and is believed to have used that name since his disappearance from Highland Park, Ill., in 1979. His arrest came after a complaint regarding the fraudulent use of a Social Security number.

The reason for his disappearance was unclear but authorities in Chicago said he might have met some trouble because of gambling debts and possible organized crime affiliations. Stein said the reasons for his disappearance will be revealed later.

Jones was declared legally deceased in 1986 and his wife and children collected Social Security benefits as a result. Investigators say Jones obtained a false Illinois driver's license, birth certificate and Social Security number he claims to have purchased in 1979 for $800 in Chicago. He allegedly used the documents to get a Nevada driver's license in 1988.

Stein said besides getting probation, Jones is expected to have to pay restitution, which will be determined by the courts. However, he said Jones could end up paying between $46,000 and $75,000 for Social Security fraud.

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