HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Robert Jones, 52, of Hurricane, pleaded guilty today to two counts of aggravated identity theft, in relation to defrauding a local bank and two elderly residents in the Southern District of West Virginia.
According to the plea agreement and statements made in court, Jones admitted that an elderly female from Clendenin hired him to do mold remediation and other handyman services at a Clendenin property that belonged to another elderly woman of advanced age. Jones admitted that he obtained blank checks belonging to the elderly homeowner and forged the signature of the woman who hired him. He wrote himself checks in this manner multiple times, in amounts payable of $7,000 and $8,500. Jones then deposited these falsified checks at the Hurricane branch of a local bank, where he had a checking account. Jones admitted that neither woman was aware that he used their personal identifiers in his efforts to obtain money from the bank. As part of his plea agreement, Jones agreed that he owes the bank $25,000 in restitution as a result of his offense and relevant conduct.
“I appreciate the excellent work of the West Virginia State Police and the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office-Consumer Protection Division that secured this conviction,” said United States Attorney Will Thompson.
“Contractors who defraud consumers must be held accountable, and I’m proud of my office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the State Police for doing just that,” Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said. “The state’s consumer protection laws require contractors to do professional work, and our office will vigorously pursue con artists who try to operate outside of the law.”
Jones faces four years in prison when he is sentenced on April 25, 2022. Jones also faces pending state charges in Jackson, Lewis, Lincoln, and Putnam Counties in connection with additional fraud schemes.
United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Kristin F. Scott is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:21-cr-00132.