Couple sentenced for defrauding venture capital fund

Posted: July 10, 2012

A former Philadelphia lawyer and his wife were sentenced to federal prison Monday for defrauding a New York venture capital fund, prosecutors said.

Mikel D. Jones, 56, of Boynton Beach, Fla., was sentenced to 42 months in prison. His wife, Dona Nichols Jones, was sentenced to one day.

As a result of the FBI investigation of Jones, a former aide to U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D., Fla.), the agency has been investigating the son of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, the Philadelphia Democrat.

Jones told agents that he paid $90,000 to firms run by Chaka Fattah Jr. but could not describe what work Fattah Jr. did.

The FBI raided Fattah Jr.'s office in February.

In addition to imposing the prison terms, U.S. District Judge Berle M. Schiller ordered Mikel Jones to pay $457,743.75 in restitution and a $3,400 special assessment. He ordered Dona Nichols Jones to pay $358,995 in restitution and a $1,600 special assessment. The couple were convicted at trial in November.

In 2006, Mikel Jones obtained a multimillion-dollar line of credit for his law firm at 1831 Chestnut St. Jones and his wife then fraudulently used money from the credit line to pay personal credit-card bills and to buy tickets to 76ers games.

The Joneses laundered about $160,000 of the funds through Florida bank accounts for her and their daughter, then used the money to replenish funds Mikel Jones took from his law firm trust account.

The couple received more than $350,000 through fraud from 2008 through 2009, prosecutors said.


Contact Robert Moran at 215-854-5983 or bmoran@phillynews.com, or follow @RobertMoran on Twitter.

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