Alleged swindler Earl Jones was declared personally bankrupt Wednesday at a hearing that offered a glimpse into the erratic business practices of the fallen financial planner. The accused Ponzi scammer doesn’t appear to have much left for the horde of creditors who want his assets and there’s no sign of their missing money, the Quebec Superior Court hearing revealed. Bankruptcy proceedings have so far turned up: three heavily mortgaged condos, two cars, some furniture, and one golf bag. Jones is accused of bilking more than 100 clients out of up to $50 million. Wednesday’s hearing offered details of bizarre activities leading up to the crumbling of his financial empire earlier this summer. Petitioner Cristina Ross described how, on the advice of a relative, she hired Jones to administer the estate of her father after he passed away last October. The task largely consisted of paperwork — including preparing tax returns and an inventory of assets and liabilities — but not to endorse cheques or handle money. But the roughly eight-month period where Jones was involved was marred, she testified, by shoddy bookkeeping, forged documents and fraudulent loan agreements. Jones took on the responsibility of dealing with an investment firm and failed to pay off a $66,000 line of credit and disperse the remainder of the investment, Ross said.
Bankruptcy lawyer Neil Stein said Jones cannot remain silent much longer because he intends to subpoena him soon. Stein said outside the courtroom that Jones’ lack of involvement shows disrespect for his former clients. “It’s not normal, number one,” he said of Jones’ refusal to participate in the process. “Number two, he owes some explanation to the victims of his actions.”