32 years later, dead man found living in Vegas

32 years later, dead man found living in Vegas
Arthur Jones was not quite dead.

From a story in the Chicago Tribune in 1979:

At 4 A.M. Friday, May 11, Mrs. Joanne Jones could wait no longer. Frightened and unable to sleep, she called police to report her husband, wealthy businessman Arthur G. Jones, missing.

"Please find him," she pleaded. "Art never missed dinner at home, never was gone overnight."

Weeks later, there still is no trace of Jones, 40, or his late-model Buick, despite an intensive police investigation. Mrs. Jones has told a visitor to the couple’s large home in suburban Highland Park, "I don’t know what to think. I don’t have any answers."

Neither do the police…


(Detective) Verbeke’s investigation has uncovered some unexpected leads, however, including Jones’ involvement with professional bookmakers.

"He had a reputation as a gambler," Verbeke said, adding that Jones, a former member of the Chicago Board of Trade, may have run up extensive gambling debts before his disappearance on May 10.

Questioning of business associates also revealed, police said, that Jones had worked with Carl Gaimari, 34, another commodities trader who was shot to death by two masked men in his suburban Inverness home on April 30, 10 days before Jones disappeared.

Eventually, Arthur Jones was declared dead.

Now, on to the financial problems of Clifton Goodenough, who…

…realized in 1995 that something was wrong with his taxes: he was told he owed taxes on income he never knew he earned.

"Things would show up on my Social Security, $18,000 to $20,000 on income and the taxes weren’t paid," recalls Goodenough. "They were earnings associated with casinos."

Sick of trying to explain his ordeal to investigators and with no leads, Goodenough gave up. But along the way, he learned from the IRS that his Social Security number was also being used by one Joseph Sandelli. In October 2009 his wife found a phone number for a person with that name living in Las Vegas. Goodenough called Jones.

"I thought he’d be as angry as me about the confusion, but he was just deflecting. He would say, ‘Well there must be some kind of mix up but I’ll change my Social Security number,’" said Goodenough. "I told him I was born at Lake Forest Hospital and he said, ‘Oh, so was I.’ It was always me giving him the answer and him agreeing, like a good con man. It didn’t really dawn on me until he offered to change his Social."

He wondered why a man in his 70s would offer to change his Social Security number when he was so close to retiring, especially if he had nothing to do with the mix up…

So Mr. Goodenough sent documents concerning the problem to his senator, John McCain. His office began an investigation, and thirty-two years after he disappeared, authorities found the 72-year-old dead man:

Jones was living in Las Vegas under the alias of Joseph Sandelli and is believed to have used that name since his disappearance from Highland Park, Ill., in 1979.

Jones was declared legally deceased in 1986 and his wife and children collected Social Security benefits as a result. Investigators say Jones obtained a false Illinois driver’s license, birth certificate and Social Security number he claims to have purchased in 1979 for $800 in Chicago. He allegedly used the documents to get a Nevada driver’s license in 1988.

Stein said besides getting probation, Jones is expected to have to pay restitution, which will be determined by the courts. However, he said Jones could end up paying between $46,000 and $75,000 for Social Security fraud.

Mr. Jones had worked as a sports book writer at casinos, getting employment under his real name after disclosing old arrests. What about him using an alias? Well, an alias is not that uncommon in Las Vegas. And Mr. Jones had experience using aliases: he had arrests in…

"…1979 to 1980 under the name Richard Lage and arrests in California from 1980-1986 as Richard Sanders."

Authorities suspect that Mr. Jones disappeared because of gambling debts and "possible organized crime affiliations."

– ‘Dead’ man hiding in Las Vegas for decades makes deal, lawyer says, Las Vegas Sun>>
– Mysterious disappearance of Chicago broker, Chicago Tribune, 1979>>
– How Arthur Jones, on the lam for 32 years, met his undoing, Las Vegas Sun>>
-Why an arrest record didn’t deny identity theft suspect a work card, Las Vegas Sun>>

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