Former CFS executive receives 5-year term

Friday, May 9th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A former executive of collapsed Oklahoma credit company Commercial Financial Services received 5 years behind bars Friday for conspiring to defraud investors and launder money.

A federal judge also ordered Jay Lowell Jones, 61, to pay $1.1 billion restitution, something Jones indicated might be difficult for him to do.

``I have a '79 Cadillac that I drive that I own and some clothes. That's about it,'' he said as he left U.S. District Court.

Jones, a former CFS executive vice president, pleaded guilty to the charge in September. He admitted he and other executives sought to inflate the company's performance and used money from new bond issues to pay off maturing ones.

The government already has seized $3.6 million in Jones' assets.

Fewer than two months after Jones' plea, former CFS leader Bill Bartmann was charged in a 58-count indictment that contained allegations of criminal conspiracy, fraud and participating in a money-laundering conspiracy.

Bartmann's jury trial is scheduled to begin September 8th.

Jones is cooperating with federal investigators.

U.S. District Judge Sven Erik Holmes had previously delayed Jones' sentencing, requesting more details on whether he was a leader or a follower in the scheme to profit from misled investors.

CFS investors lost more than $1 billion, and 3,900 workers in Oklahoma City and Tulsa lost their jobs when the company collapsed in 1999.

The company bought long-overdue accounts from credit card companies and then sold bonds based on its ability to collect those debts.

Jones formed Dimat Inc. to secretly purchase accounts that CFS was unable to collect. The sales enabled CFS to report a higher collection rate, preventing a downgrade by credit rating agencies that would have made its bonds less attractive to investors and more expensive to CFS.