By Charisma L. Miller, Esq. Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A trial is scheduled to begin on September 18, 2012, for attorney Raymond Alfred Jones, who has been charged by the Kings County District Attorney’s Office with Grand Larceny in the 2nd degree. Mr. Jones will be represented by defense attorney Anthony Ricco. The trial will be presided over by Judge John Walsh. The charge against Mr. Jones arises from his alleged mishandling and ultimate breach of his fiduciary duties as the court-appointed guardian and trustee of the estate of various incapacitated persons.
In 2011, in two separate cases, Matter of Jones 2011 NY slip Op 50501(U) and Matter of Josephine R., 2011 NY Slip OP 51046(U), Mr. Jones was found to have abused his role as fiduciary. In Matter of Jones, Mr. Jones served as the court appointed trustee and guardian for Mr. Roy L., an incapacitated person who was born with devastating bodily deformities and received a lump sum net settlement of $684,700.00 in a wrongful life lawsuit. Mr. Jones also served as legal counsel to Mr. Roy L. and his mother, Ms. Elaine DeJesus. During his role as guardian, Mr. Jones offered to purchase, on behalf of his ward, a home located at 1079 Sterling Place and retrofit the home to accommodate the ward’s disabilities. The home, in alleged disrepair, was owned by a business associate of Mr. Jones. In 2009, Mr. Jones purchased 1079 Sterling Place from his business associate for the purchase price of $111,00.00 (approximately $36,000.00 more than Mr. Jones previously attested the home was worth) and hired his associate to renovate the home for $121,800.00. According to court documents, Mr. Jones did not seek prior court approval to purchase or renovate 1079 Sterling Place. Mr. Jones did, however, receive court approval approximately nineteen months after the purchase of the home. During the renovation, Mr. Jones convinced his ward and Ms. DeJesus to rent the basement apartment of his business associate in the interim. The guardianship order and judgment for Mr. Roy L. limited monthly rent contributions to $300.00. The rent paid to Mr. Jones‘ associate for a basement apartment was $1,200.00 per month, in excess of the ward’s allotted rental contribution and was paid exclusively from the ward’s estate. Approximately two years after the renovations began, the ward and Ms. DeJesus were allowed to move into 1079 Sterling Place. The renovations, however, were never fully completed under Mr. Jones‘ tenure as guardian. In 2004, Mr. Jones was removed as guardian/trustee for Mr. Roy L.
After a hearing held on October 1, 2010, Justice Besty Barros, Kings County Supreme Court, Civil Term, ruled that during his tenure as guardian/trustee, Mr. Jones “embarked on [a] course of conduct the hallmark of which was to promote his self-interest at the direct expense of the people he was entrusted to protect.” Mr. Jones was subsequently ordered to pay to the estate of Mr. Roy L. a total of $501,425.67 plus 9% interest for expenditures made by Mr. Jones that were “wasteful, …the result of self-dealing, that violated the [guardianship/trustee] order…or that were made without prior court approval.”
The case, Matter of Josephine R. decided by Justice Ellen Spodek, Kings County Supreme Court, Civil Term, contained similar instances of self-dealing and refusal to obtain court approval prior to the purchase and other investment of property on behalf of Mr. Jones’ ward. In that case, Mr. Jones was ordered to pay to the estate of his former ward, $650,000.00 plus 9% interest.
There is no indication as to whether Mr. Jones has made payments in any of these cases.