Jury's Guilty Verdict Follows Belief That Jones Cash Poor

by George Waldon  on Monday, Oct. 18, 2010 12:00 am  

During closing arguments on Sept. 28, Daniel Stripling, assistant U.S. attorney, hammered home the incongruity of a man worth a purported $4.7 million who was unable to pay off a $331,000 debt.

Stripling also underscored that Brockinton had to contact Jones to find out why he missed the final payment.

"He had to track Jones down to talk with him," said Stripling. "And Aaron Jones told him, 'I don't have the money.'"

Brockinton was repaid the remaining $281,000 plus interest in March 2009.

Peters: "And do you know where the proceeds came from to pay that?"

Brockinton: "The sale of the lot and what was left of the house ..."

Bank records indicate Jones didn't have the cash to repay the Brockintons. Nor did he have the cash when Centennial Bank of Little Rock called a $245,000 loan due after the fire.

Centennial officials didn't know about the Brockinton mortgage when it agreed to lend Jones the money to buy a $1.2 million home in Florida. The Centennial loan was secured by the Chenal Circle home.

However, the $1.6 million house was carrying $1.7 million of debt, and Centennial was last in line, behind Countrywide and the Brockintons, with what amounted to a largely unsecured mortgage.

The existence of the Brockinton mortgage should have been noted by real estate title work on the property, required as part of the loan process. Spears & Jones Title Co. of Benton, owned by Jones and his business partner, Donald Spears, did the title work that overlooked the Brockinton loan.

The defense portrayed the oversight as an innocent mistake by an employee. Innocent or not, the omission allowed Jones to receive a loan based on an inaccurate picture of his equity position in the house.

Although Jones didn't take the witness stand, media interviews he gave after the fire were introduced as evidence. On more than one occasion, Jones said he only owed about $1 million on the house although real estate documents indicated otherwise. The actual figure was more like $1.6 million.

 

 

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