Putnam County Man Sentenced for Defrauding Elderly Citizens and Local Bank

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A Putnam County man was sentenced today to four years in prison for committing two counts of aggravated identity theft as part of his scheme to defraud a local bank and two elderly residents in the Southern District of West Virginia.

Robert Jones, 52, of Hurricane, was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release following his prison sentence and to pay $25,000 in restitution as a result of his offenses and similar relevant conduct.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Jones admitted that an elderly woman 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. Jones 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.

United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers imposed the sentence. The Court cited Jones’ “despicable” criminal record, observing that Jones has a “persistent business of cheating people out of their hard-earned money” and that he “can’t keep cheating people and expect to get away with it.”

United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the West Virginia State Police and the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office-Consumer Protection Division for conducting the investigation.

“The excellent investigative work in this case helped bring justice for some of the most vulnerable among us,” Thompson said.

Assistant United States Attorney Kristin F. Scott prosecuted the case. Jones currently faces additional pending state-level charges in Jackson, Lewis, Lincoln, and Putnam counties in connection with additional fraud schemes. 

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-132.