Local News

100 Indictments Handed Down On Rocky Mount Businessman

Posted September 14, 2005

— A Rocky Mount businessman is in jail, charged with investing $8 million of his clients' money in an illegal scheme.

One hundred separate indictments were handed down against Joe Jones by the Nash County grand jury. Investigators say his victims may never get their money, but victims say justice may be good enough.

Lillie Greene and Mary Henderson broke out into an impromptu dance in the parking lot outside Jones' office Wednesday.

"This is the best news I've heard in a year," Greene said.

The Secretary of State's office began investigating Jones more than a year ago. Investigators say he put his clients' money in an illegal pyramid scheme that clients like Berkley say was disguised as a Charlotte concert promoter called BAB Productions.

Charles Harrison, an associate of Jones in Charlotte, is also charged. Twenty-one indictments were also handed down on him. He is expected to turn himself into police on Thursday.

Jones' clients were mostly older people who trusted him with their retirement funds.

Greene says Jones was invited to her workplace during retirement seminars.

"He was a smooth, conniving character," Greene said. "He'd get all dressed up in a suit and do it up."

Greene trusted Jones with $200,000 of her money. Henderson says she lost $100,000.

"He was legal, I thought," Henderson said. "He showed me his credentials."

When the Secretary of State's office slapped Jones with a cease-and-desist order last fall, he had been working without a license for more than a year.

Jones' Rocky Mount office is locked and closed. A newspaper sits outside the front door. A business card from the Internal Revenue Service is tucked in between the doorframe and the door itself.

Jones' wife would not comment on the case, but clients like Henderson say they have more than enough to say.

"I'm going to make sure he pulls some time if I don't get a dime," she said.

Both Harrison and Jones have bond set at $800,000. The FBI is also investigating to see how far and wide this scheme may stretch.


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