Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones appears to be moving his money to friends and family in an attempt to avoid paying nearly $1.5 billion in damages to the families of the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, a new report reveals.
Last year was Jones ordered to pay the massive damages following his years-long claims on his digital platform Infowars that the mass shooting was a government scam to take guns away from Americans.
According to a recent New York Times investigation into Jones’ financial and legal documents, the far-right broadcast agitator transferred assets worth millions of dollars beyond the reach of creditors such as lawsuits from Sandy Hook families as well as court sanctions against him in recent years.
As part of a series of maneuvers to avoid paying for legal damages, Infowar’s parent company, Free number systemlike Jones himselfdeclared bankruptcy last year.
“I’m officially out of money, personally,” Jones said at Infowars in December. “It’s all going to be archived. It’s all going to be public. And you’re going to see that Alex Jones has almost no money,” said the Associated Press reports says Jones.
But the new investigation by The New York Times found that in addition to Jones spending $80,000 on a private jet, security and a mansion during his time in Connecticut last year to testify in the trial, he also appeared to have siphoned off his money to various entities.
The report revealed that in October 2021, Jones entered into a business deal with Auriam Services, a month-old company founded by lifestyle blogger Anthony Gucciardi, a friend of Jones. According to the report, Auriam Services would act as a credit card intermediary.
Then, in February 2022, Jones transferred his $3 million estate in Austin, Texas to his wife, Erika Wulff Jones. The property spans 5,400 sq m and boasts four bedrooms and five bathrooms, in addition to a pool and spa.
The investigation also found Jones signed a contract last July with Blue Ascension, a new company founded just months earlier by Patrick Riley, Jones’ former personal trainer and assistant. That same month, Free Speech Systems filed for bankruptcy.
In response, the victims’ families filed a lawsuit alleging that Jones fraudulently moved his money away from creditors, including transferring $11,000 a day to $11,000 a week and “up to 80 percent of his nutritional supplement sales” to PQPR, a company controlled by Jones and his parents, the New York Times reports.
In January, Jones filed a personal balance sheet with a Texas bankruptcy court that The New York Times reviewed. The paper indicated that Jones only had about $5.6 million in total assets.
But a financial statement filed by Jones’ lawyers last month, which began with “five pages of disclaimers” saying Jones is not fully aware of where his bank accounts are, showed Jones had much more money.
According to the documents reviewed by New York Times, Jones’ estate was found to be valued at a total of US$10 million. It also indicated that his reported monthly income was $129,000, with $104,000 from undisclosed sources.
Last month, Jones remained adamant about keeping his platform and company, saying on his podcast, “If anyone thinks they’re shutting me down, they’re wrong,” the New York Times reported.
Despite being awarded nearly $1.5 billion in legal damages, Sandy Hook families are unsure if they will be paid the full amount.
“There is a chance that we will be forced into a situation where we will check how Infowars is doing every month to find out if our clients are getting paid or not,” Mark Bankston, one of the families’ lawyers, told the outlet .
Earlier this month, Free Speech Systems proposed a bankruptcy plan that would pay Jones an annual salary of $520,000 and leave $7 million to $10 million to annually pay creditors, including victims’ families.