Dallas officer accused of promoting pyramid scheme made $ 48,000 in money transfers, affidavit says
A Dallas police officer accused of promoting and organizing a pyramid scheme involving multiple officers and at least 159 participants was awarded around $ 48,000 during the operation, according to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained Tuesday.
Reginald Jones, 58, surrendered to DeSoto Police at around 4 p.m. Friday and posted a $ 10,000 bond that evening, police said. He has worked in the department for almost 20 years and is assigned to the South Central Patrol Division.
A detective interviewed Jones and other witnesses earlier this year and discovered text messages that showed he was telling people how to join the alleged program, which he called “a donation program,” according to the affidavit .
His attorney, Chris Knox, said in a written statement to The morning news from Dallas that Jones is “an exemplary police officer” who failed to realize that his actions were illegal.
“Officer Jones, like all the other officers involved in the gift tree, certainly had no intention of breaking the law and was not aware that his actions could potentially be interpreted as illegal,” said Knox.
Dallas police announced Friday night that they had obtained an arrest warrant for Jones. The department also made grand jury referrals for 12 other officers from the same division on charges they were involved in and promoted the pyramid scheme. A grand jury will determine whether charges should be laid against the officers.
In a pyramid scheme, participants are promised big returns on their investments if they are able to recruit new participants. New members pay an upfront fee, which is channeled through the chain to previous recruits above them in the program. Promoters at the top of the pyramid tend to profit, while newer members at the bottom of the pyramid are likely to lose money.
Pyramid schemes differ from Ponzi schemes, in which people donate their money to an organizer who pays previous investors with money from new investors.
Under Texas law, operating a pyramid scheme or recruiting people to participate in it is a state prison felony, punishable by six months to two years in state prison and a fine. up to $ 10,000.
A Dallas police officer reported Jones’ involvement in the pyramid scheme to the department’s public integrity unit on September 30, 2020, according to the affidavit. On March 15 of this year, Jones told detectives that attendees paid for “gift circles” of $ 100, $ 500 or $ 1,400 using the CashApp mobile phone app. These recruits were ordered to “bring in” at least two new participants to be “blessed” by eight people, according to the affidavit.
A detective analyzed data from Jones’ cell phone and questioned a man who had exchanged messages with the officer, according to the affidavit. The man, who worked in construction, told detective that Jones approached him and a colleague on October 5, 2020, while Jones was on duty and in uniform blocking traffic on Interstate 35.
The man said Jones told him and his colleague about a “donation program” that they could participate in if they paid other people through CashApp, according to the affidavit. The detective found text messages exchanged between Jones, the two men and one of their colleagues, according to the affidavit.
Jones’ texts to one of the men confirmed that Jones told the man who he was to pay and that he had to involve at least two people in the scheme, according to the affidavit. The affidavit did not mention the 12 other officers involved in the scheme.
Jones and the 12 other agents involved are on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation. In alphabetical order, the other agents involved in the alleged scheme are:
- Major David Davis, hired May 2018
- Officer Anthony Edmond, hired in August 1992
- Sgt. Constance Lewis, hired January 1990
- Officer Paul Logan, hired December 2004
- Sr. Cpl. Pearl McDowell, hired June 2007
- Sgt. Latasha Moore, hired June 2007
- Sgt. Rachel Moore, hired September 2005
- Officer Carlton Nelson, hired November 2007
- Sr. Cpl. Raquel Oliver, hired August 2005
- Sr. Cpl. Aaron Rucker, hired December 2006
- Lieutenant Giovanni Wells, hired January 2007
- Sgt. Jennifer Wells, hired January 2007
Grand jury referrals on the same charge were also made against Reserve Officer Brad Deason and civilian employee Sonja Davis, Dallas Police said.