First Posted: 1/14/2009
LUMBERTON A Rowland man has been indicted by the Robeson County grand jury on charges he stole nearly $1 million from residents in four states through contracting scams.
Ronnie Wayne Jones, 44, of 4832 Cabinet Shop Road, was arrested on multiple counts of obtaining property by false pretenses. He was taken to the Robeson County jail and placed under a $200,000 bond.
Jones is wanted on similar charges in Marion County, S.C., where he is considered a fugitive, according to authorities.
Erick Hackney, an investigator with the Robeson County District Attorneys Office, said the arrest follows an investigation that began in February 2008.
Hackney said the investigation showed that Jones, along with family members and associates, convinced victims that he owned ligament trucking companies and had won large state and federal contracts for housing and highway projects.
Hackney said Jones also told people that he bought failing companies and liquidated their assets for profit.
Hackney said Jones would persuade his victims, whom Jones referred to as lenders, to invest in the so-called contracts and to help purchase additional equipment and trucks. He then promised the investors thousands of dollars in return. None of the contracts existed, Hackney said.
In each case, Jones would take the victims money, but never repay the initial loan, nor give them the promised profit, Hackney said. Jones has ruined the lives of many of the victims.
Hackney said some of the victims invested entire life savings funds.
According to Hackney, Jones scammed people from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. The money was funneled through several banks, including BB&T, First Citizens Bank, and First South Bank. Money was also transferred through the U.S. Postal Service and UPS, Hackney said.
Hackney said Jones has numerous civil judgments against him dating back to 2000, totaling about $520,000. If convicted of all counts, Jones could face up to 80 years in prison, Hackney said.
Jones is the kind of guy that you should run from, Hackney said. He will do everything he can to separate you from your money.
District Attorney Johnson Britt and assistant prosecutors Tony Burke, Jon Steiber, and Rodney Oxendine assisted in the investigation.