by Max Brantley
Here's a full copy of the indictment.
It lists five counts -- four related to using the mail in a fire insurance fraud claim and a fifth for arson. The indictment offers no details on how the government plans to tie Jones to the arson.
It details, however, a man under financial pressure, with some $1.8 million owed on the Chenal house, which he couldn't sell at that price, and another $1.2 million owed on a house in Florida that he also couldn't move at that price. He also had an overdrawn checking account. But he did have a big insurance policy on which Jones tried to collect $2.8 million. The fire occurred when Jones' family was vacationing at the Florida house.
There'd been whispers for a week that the indictment was imminent. It comes as continuing problems are litigated in Jones' real estate ventures.
UPDATE: Ark. Business gets in touch with Tim Dudley, Jones' attorney. (And one of the top local criminal lawyers.) He's innocent, says his mouthpiece. Dudley says feds can't prove Jones caused or set the fire.
John Williams wrote about the case for us here.
Arkansas Business wrote about arson investigation here.
If Jones is guilty, he's gutsy. Here's a story about his lawsuit against his insurance company for refusing to pay the claim on the 2008 fire at 43 Chenal Circle.