Earl Jones scared, may need protection, lawyer says
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Thursday, July 30, 2009 11:47AM EDT
"Self preservation" is the top concern right now for suspected swindler Earl Jones, says the lawyer for the unlicensed financial adviser.
The company that belong to Jones -- who is accused of bilking clients out of up to $50 million -- was declared bankrupt on Wednesday in a Montreal court.
In the wake of the ruling is a trail of lost life savings, and the shattered hopes of many who allege Jones swindled them.
Jones' lawyer Jeffrey Boro said his client, who is currently free on bail, is afraid for his life and is keeping a low profile.
"He's basically not going out that much and he's obviously very afraid things could happen to him, so I think his concern for self-preservation is primary in his mind right now," Boro told CTV's Canada AM.
He said he believes Jones will need a personal security detail at some point to ensure he is protected from anyone who may be seeking revenge.
In the three weeks between when the scandal broke, and Tuesday, when the 67-year-old was charged with four counts each of fraud and theft, Jones was in hiding. But he still received threats against him, Boro said.
"You know when people's life savings are lost they are not too happy and from being unhappy you can do certain things you wouldn't normally consider doing."
On Wednesday, as Earl Jones Consultant and Administration Corp. was declared bankrupt, about 50 of Jones' alleged victims demonstrated outside the courthouse, demanding stronger rules for financial planners and tougher sentences for white-collar crimes.
Boro said he agrees with the need for stronger regulations governing those who manage other people's money.
At the very least, he said, financial consultants should be required to post a bond that would be used to pay back their clients, should something go wrong.
Following Wednesday's decision, bankruptcee trustee Gilles Robillard will try to figure out exactly how much money -- if any -- is left in the business.
Quebec's securities regulator has alleged that Jones operated a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of between $30 million and $50 million.
The case has been compared to that of Bernie Madoff, the disgraced financier who pleaded guilty to bilking thousands of investors out of billions of dollars in a massive Ponzi scheme.
Boro said that comparison isn't a stretch
"They're calling this case a mini-Madoff and from what I've seen so far, which is not that much, it seems to indicate to me there may have been part of what they call a Ponzi scheme in this matter, and to the extent that there is such a scheme, the comparison is one that is proper, I think."