Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Verdell Terria Jones (58, Jacksonville) has pleaded guilty to possession of a fictitious government document involving a counterfeit government check. Jones faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in federal prison and payment of restitution to the victims that she defrauded. Her sentencing hearing is set for November 1, 2023.
Jones was arrested on April 11, 2017. After being released on pre-trial supervision, Jones fled the jurisdiction in August 2017 and a warrant was issued for her arrest. Jones remained a fugitive for more than five years until the FBI located and arrested her in April 2023.
According to the plea agreement and court proceedings, Jones was involved with the Sovereign Citizen Movement and did not recognize the authority of the U.S. government. As part of a scheme to defraud, Jones obtained counterfeit checks made to look like genuine checks issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Superimposed on the counterfeit checks was language such as “an obligation of the United States,” “statutory legal tender obligation of the United States,” and an image of the Statue of Liberty that appeared to be identical to the image contained on genuine government financial documents issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
In 2015, Jones contacted an individual in Jacksonville who was selling a car. Jones agreed to purchase the car by paying off the balance on the car loan. Jones sent the financial institution a counterfeit check for $25,000 that appeared to be drawn on the U.S. Department of Treasury in an attempt to defraud both the financial institution and the individual selling the car.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kevin C. Frein and Michael Coolican.