A former commodities broker in Chicago who walked out of his home in 1979, disappeared and was declared legally dead seven years later, has been found working in Las Vegas as a bookie.
Arthur Jones, then 40 years old, ran out the door around noon on May 10, 1979, telling his wife he would be back after a business meeting, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Jones, now 72, was arrested on July 19 in Las Vegas, where he had been working for a decade as a sports book writer at the Rampart Casino in the Summerlin neighborhood, according to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. The Nevada state attorney general's office has charged him with counts of fraud, identity theft and burglary. He was released on $20,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court in August.
Jones' arrest came about after a complaint regarding the fraudulent use of a Social Security number and the fraudulent use of a Nevada driver's license, the Nevada DMV said, according to Fox News.
His disappearance was mysterious and suspicious, with questions and rumors surrounding it.
The DMV said Jones disappeared more than 30 years ago from Highland Park, Illinois, and that, at the time, police thought he might have been a victim of foul play, mentioning gambling debts and possible ties to organized crime, according to Reuters.
In 1986, he was declared dead, and $47,000 in Social Security benefits was paid to his wife, the Telegraph reported.
But after Jones resurfaced in Vegas as Joseph Richard Sandelli, a DMV investigator came to the conclusion that he had "voluntarily left his family and friends in 1979, possibly fleeing the mob" to reinvent himself and start a new life, an affidavit by investigator Doug Staubs said.
Jones, who once held a seat on the Chicago Board of Trade, told authorities that he had had to sell the seat to pay a debt related to a trading mistake he had made. Then he made the decision to leave his life behind, including his family, citing a troubled marriage, unemployment, and a desire for a "fresh start," according to the affidavit, Reuters reported.
But his wife from his previous life in Illinois saw it differently, telling authorities that he had sold the Board of Trade seat to pay personal gambling debts. She provided examples of extreme gambling behavior, stating that he had once bet $30,000 on a basketball game. He also took out a second mortgage to pay gambling debts, according to the affidavit.
After his disappearance in 1979, the FBI disclosed that they had investigated Jones over possible ties to Chicago organized crime, the Telegraph reported. According to his wife, he might have been involved in running errands for local mob figures.
Jones allegedly told investigators that he bought a fake ID for $800, and moved to Florida, then California, finally settling in Las Vegas in 1988. He was arrested a number of times in all three states, the affidavit said.
Jones' arrest could be the end of a long nightmare for a U.S. Army veteran who works as a registered nurse in Phoenix, according to the Chicago Tribune.
For more than 15 years, with mysterious earnings turning up year after year on his federal wage records, Clifton Goodenough had to explain to the Internal Revenue Service over and over that he worked at a veteran’s hospital in Phoenix — not as a bookie in Las Vegas.
The Nevada attorney general says that Jones stole Goodenough’s Social Security number to embark on his new life, and with Jones' arrest, Goodenough hopes that his frustrating ordeal is now over.