An Englishman who said he was a billionaire planning to buy a decommissioned British aircraft carrier was in Niagara County Court Tuesday, fighting extradition to Nevada on securities fraud charges.
Mark D. Jones, 44, is no billionaire, Nevada prosecutors say. They call him a con man who convinced a girlfriend in Las Vegas to invest $130,000 in a scheme that was supposedly going to produce money to aid battered women, abused children and Native Americans.
He then used the money for himself, after telling the woman that his company, Eaglefinger Enterprises, would double her investment in two years, according to a grand jury indictment.
Robert Giunta, a University at Buffalo graduate who is now a senior deputy attorney general in Nevada, said Jones was supposed to go on trial last November on securities fraud charges stemming from the alleged deal in 2004.
However, he didn't show up, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Jones was arrested Jan. 8 at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls as he tried to re-enter the U.S. from Canada.
He has been fighting extradition, and Tuesday was supposed to be the day for a hearing at which a prosecutor would prove Jones was the man sought in the warrant.
However, Assistant District Attorney Peter M. Wydysh said copies of Jones' fingerprints that were mailed from Las Vegas last week hadn't arrived yet, so he had to ask for an adjournment.
Judge Matthew J. Murphy III put off the hearing until Monday. Jones remains in the Niagara County Jail without bail.
The Daily Mail, a London newspaper, reported Tuesday that Jones had offered to buy a mothballed Royal Navy aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal, for 375 million pounds, or $592 million.
After refitting, the 600-foot-long ship was to become a floating hospital that would travel the world to provide aid at disaster sites, the Daily Mail said.
The Ark Royal was decommissioned in a round of budget cuts in 2010, the Daily Mail said, but Jones never bought it.