Lawyer With Washington Ties Charged With Bilking Hedge Fund

Aug 3 2011 | 10:27am ET

A Philadelphia lawyer and aide to a Florida congressman has pleaded not guilty to charges that he ripped off a hedge fund.

Mikel Jones' trial on fraud and money laundering charges is set to begin in September in Philadelphia. The longtime aide to Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) and longtime friend of Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), Jones is accused of using "fraudulent invoices and false representations" to win loans from the New York hedge fund, which is not identified.

Jones accepted more than $300,000 in loans from the hedge fund, according to the indictment against him. He is also accused of borrowing $150,000 from a program run by the city of Philadelphia to support minority-owned businesses while repaying only $20,000.

"Did I use some of the [Philadelphia Commercial Development Corp.] money for personal use? Yes," Jones admitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to court filings. "If I don't survive, the law firm doesn't survive, and the loan was to help the law firm survive."

But prosecutors allege that some of the money paid for football tickets, his wife's American Express bill and a lavish birthday party for his wife.

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