A Dallas police officer and two others, a reserve officer and a civilian employee, have been indicted on promoting a pyramid promotional scheme, according to court records.
Dallas police officer Reginald Jones, Reserve Officer Brad Deason, and civilian employee Sonja Davis were handed up the indictments by a grand jury last week. It was not clear if Deason and Davis had legal representation.
In a prepared statement, Chris Knox, Jones’ attorney, said, “this is an unfortunate case, and one where the officers charged did not do anything different than thousands of other people did during the pandemic.”
According to Knox, the prosecution was based on “a novel reading of the Texas Business Code.” The reading was inconsistent with how the statute has been applied since 1995.
“Officer Jones has been an exemplary officer during his career with the Dallas Police Department and is looking forward to getting back to work so he can continue to serve and protect the people of Dallas as he has for over 20 years,” Knox said.
According to court records, the scheme involved multiple officers and at least 159 participants. Jones is accused of receiving roughly $48,000 from the scam. The arrest warrant affidavit called the alleged scheme a “gifting program.” It was unclear the nature of Deason’s and Davis’ involvement.
In October, Dallas police announced that they had obtained an arrest warrant for Jones, an officer with the department for about 20 years. He is assigned to the South Central Patrol Division.
Another 12 officers have been placed on administrative leave by the department. The leave comes after accusations that they participated in and promoted the pyramid scheme. They are not amongst the officers listed in records as facing criminal charges.
According to The Dallas Morning News, “In a pyramid scheme, participants are promised big returns on their investments if they are able to recruit new participants. New members pay upfront costs, which are funneled up the chain to earlier recruits situated above them in the scheme. The promoters at the top of the pyramid tend to profit, while the newer members at the bottom are likely to lose money.”
Operating a pyramid scheme, or recruiting people to participate, is a state jail felony, punishable by six months to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000 under Texas law.