Identity Thief Found After 32 Years

Extreme gambling led Arthur Jones to live a life on the lam. The former commodities broker said goodbye to his wife of 20 years back in 1979, claiming he was headed to a business meeting. But 40-year-old Jones never returned home. Seven years later, he was declared dead.

Last week, at age 72, Jones was discovered working as a sports book writer in Las Vegas and arrested.

Jones took on his new identity as Joseph Richard Sandelli by paying $800 for a fake driver's license, birth certificate, and social security number. However, the social security number belonged to U.S. Army veteran Clifton Goodenough.

Goodenough had been battling the IRS for 15 years, trying to convince them he worked at a veteran's hospital in Phoenix, not as a bookie in Las Vegas.

"I had family members looking at me cross-eyed; They thought I had some kind of separate life," Goodenough told the Chicago Tribune.

He was finally so fed up, he wrote a letter to Arizona Senator John McCain's office and immediately the Social Security Administration became involved.

"All of a sudden it was ‘Hold on just a bit longer, we’re working on it,’" Goodenough said. "It’s been a longer road to straighten this out than I ever expected."

Arthur Jones was tracked down through the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. He's being charged with fraud, identity theft and burglary counts. Known as an extreme gambler, Jones had lost $30,000 on a basketball game once. He even forged his wife's signature on a second mortgage application out of desperation for cash.

If Goodenough had never complained, Jones may have never been nabbed.

Photo: Los Angeles Times, John R. Coughlin

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Categories: Identity Theft

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