September 11, 2014

Permian Basin Businessman Pleads Guilty to Federal Wire Fraud Charges

James Edward “Jasper” Jones, age 44, of Midland, TX, faces up to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to two wire fraud charges in connection with a cattle purchasing scheme announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist.

According to court records, for approximately one year beginning in March 2011, Henry Resources retained Jones, doing business as Stampede Ranch and Lease Management (Stampede), to manage several of its ranching properties in West Texas. One such entity was JJB Lands, LLC (JJB Lands).

In approximately April 2011, Jones agreed with JJB Lands that he would purchase $250,000 worth of cattle for a ranch near Eldorado, TX, and that amount was subsequently wire transferred to a Stampede bank account. Jones’ representations to JJB Lands concerning how he would use these funds were material in JJB Lands’ decision to transfer them. In subsequent months, Stampede would invoice JJB Lands for additional purchases of cattle for this ranch, and JJB Lands paid those invoices.

In pleading guilty last Friday, Jones admitted that he did not actually use all of the money designated by JJB Lands for cattle purchases for that purpose, even though he had promised and represented otherwise. Instead, Jones diverted a large portion of the funds for other purposes, including personal expenses. When a cattle inventory was conducted in early March 2012 at the Eldorado ranch, approximately 120 head of cattle, which Jones represented to JJB Lands that he had purchased, could not be located. The Government estimates the resulting loss to JJB lands exceeded $400,000.

Jones remains on bond pending sentencing which is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on December 5, 2014, before United States District Judge Robert A. Junell in Midland.

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney John Klassen is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.