CFS' Jones testifies he lied in videotape

Wednesday, October 15th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A co-founder of Commercial Financial Services testified Wednesday that he lied when he said in a videotaped interview that Bill Bartmann had nothing to do with an alleged scheme to boost the struggling company's performance.

Prosecutors showed the videotape, made in November 1998, in which Jay Jones takes full responsibility for secret insider sales of debt accounts.

The videotape appears to bolster Bartmann's defense that Jones bought the loans with money from stock sales in an attempt to start his own rival collection company.

But Jones said he lied in the videotape to protect the company he founded with Bartmann in 1986. Jones is serving a five-year prison term for conspiracy tied to CFS' collapse.

Bartmann is in his third week of trial on 57 counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. His federal indictment unsealed in December also seeks a 58th count of criminal forfeiture.

Prosecutors allege Bartmann used Dimat Inc. to buy loans CFS couldn't collect. The sales allowed the Tulsa-based company to hide its insufficient collection rates from investors, prosecutors allege.

CFS bought bad credit card debt from banks and sold bonds based on its ability to collect them.

At its peak, the company employed 3,900 people in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. It sold more than $2 billion in bonds.

The company collapsed in 1999 after an anonymous letter to credit rating agencies described the alleged scheme.