Sealed court records have been uncovered from a buried investigation which states Scott Jones was feeding confidential law enforcement records to known felons, and informing them of upcoming drug raids as they were engaged in methamphetamine distribution, identity theft, and a check forgery crime ring when he was a deputy.
What went wrong, after that discovery, is Scott Jones had been witness to other deputy misconduct within the Sheriff’s jail which was supervised by John McGinness. According to Sheriff Lou Blanas, he later identified John McGinness (Jones’ long time friend), as the supervisor who buried the investigation and ordered records shredded, until the statute of limitation had expired, so as to keep Jones quiet about other internal scandals about beating inmates at RCCC and the downtown jail (litigated by local attorney Stewart Katz).
Under Sheriffs John McGinness and Scott Jones, the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department has a long history of making internal investigations against deputies go “pending” for years. The strategy is that for criminal acts, the department allows the statute of limitations to run out so no formal charges can be filed. John McGinness also oversaw some of the worst ongoing patterns of police brutality of inmates in the department, which was proven in court.
It’s simple housekeeping, really. After all, the department wants to avoid taking the heat for his agency (and its staff) being outed for misconduct? What better way than to handle it all internally?
As the chief law enforcement agency in the Sacramento region, the Sheriff’s Department has the jurisdiction to investigate and arrest perpetrators (including rogue deputies) who break the law. Federal agency jurisdictional oversight and related investigations end at the identification of federal crimes (such as forgery of FDIC insured financial instruments), but not state law or county ordinance violations for things like the misuse of agency resources and breach of offender confidentiality requirements.
And that is what went wrong… and offenders went Scott free. The Secret Service and FBI couldn’t do anything about a violation of state law, and under John McGinness’ direct control of the investigation the Sheriff’s Department held the investigation in limbo for years.
In recently uncovered court sealed documents, now, long after the opportunity for prosecution has expired, Scott Jones’ fingerprints are all over helping a Sacramento identity theft and forgery ring. While working in the Sheriff’s Department, Jones (a licensed attorney), enjoyed gifted rent-free office space at a nearby bail bonds agency in exchange for favors he would do for the owners, according to court records. Those records reveal the owners of the bail bonds agency were involved with numerous illegal activities which you can download and read about.
Witnesses observed Scott Jones being called their “cop on the take” and being upon to use his access to department resources to run criminal background checks and share confidential investigation materials to his felon friends. Phone records showed numerous matching phone calls occurred between the theft ring and Jones, often-times to his Department-owned desk phone and mobile phone, and computer access records revealed names were in fact pulled up for people who had nothing to do with Jones’ official duties at the time of his assignments within the Department.
But in the Department the investigation was directly under John McGinness, and his discretion as to pursuing or not pursuing any action against Scott Jones. Jones was questioned about his involvement in the theft ring, and ultimately was not charged. Jones was able to fall back on his attorney-client privilege which protected him from having to discuss what he was discussing with his clients on Department phones, and what “contracts” he was repeatedly working on, why he had to call up banks through which his clients were running forged checks, and other extremely suspicious activities.
It would seem there were more “contracts” that Jones “reviewed” for his private clients while he was on Sheriff’s Department time than any other bail bonds agency, anywhere. And as for the FBI’s polygraph, Jones raised “attorney-client privilege” to save him from having to answer any potentially damaging questions, since he claimed to be the felons’ attorney while he had his free office space in their bail bonds office. Limited on what they could ask, the FBI only asked a few questions about Jones’ particular involvement in trying to pass off a $3 million treasury bond at a local bank.
Unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jones had actual knowledge about only the violations of federal law (but not state or local law), Jones was ultimately not charged by federal officials. A federal Grand Jury, which only considers violations of federal law (not state) , did not pursue action against Jones and asked him only about possible violations of federal law. The local prosecution of Jones for violating state law was buried by his friend John McGinness.
Jones was suspended and placed on leave from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department on January 15, 2004, and as the only punishment he was issued a letter which informed him not to use department computers for looking up peoples’ background information for friends. There wasn’t any independent third-party agency questioning Jones about violations of state law occurred, and Jones was Scott free with the help of John McGinness.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department needs a complete leadership overhaul, beginning with who is elected as Sheriff. It is going to take someone from the outside to come in and clean up the department. An insider, who has been part of the problem, can never be expected to bring about the changes necessary to bring forth the integrity, transparency, and equality to the Department that Sacramento taxpayers deserve.