Bel Air lawyer and former Baltimore County Del. Lester V. Jones has been indicted on income tax evasion charges for allegedly under-reporting more than $330,000 in income for 1983 and 1984, federal prosecutors said today.
A grand jury returned the two-count indictment against Jones, 58, of Hydes, late yesterday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
The indictment alleged that Jones claimed total taxable income of $51,318 for 1983, when, in fact, his income was about $150,000, and claimed total income of $50,792 for 1984, when his true taxable income was approximately $183,00.
Jones paid taxes of $15,879 for 1983 and $15,940 for 1984. The indictment said he owed the government about $59,000 in 1983 and $76,000 in 1984.
He filed the returns jointly with his wife, Shirley. She was not charged.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph L. Evans said today in announcing the indictment that no date has been set for Jones to appear in court for an initial appearance and bail hearing. Evans is prosecuting the case with Assistant U.S. Attorney Ira L. Oring.
If Jones is convicted, he could face five years in prison on each count and total fines of $350,000.
Jones could not be reached today, but a secretary at his law firm said he would have no comment on the charges.
L. Paige Marvel, Jones' defense attorney, said she and her client "do intend to fight this, but that's as much as we intend to say at this point."
Jones, who operates an active practice centered in Baltimore and Harford County courts, is a former assistant state's attorney in Baltimore County who rose to prominence in the mid-1960s in the Essex-based Democratic political machine of former state Sen. James A. Pine.
Jones served in the House of Delegates from 1966 to 1975. After statewide redistricting reshuffled and disenfranchised several eastern county Democrats, he ran for the state Senate but lost in the primary by a 2-to-1 margin to now-County Executive Dennis F. Rasmussen.
He also lost an election bid for a Harford County Circuit Court judgeship in 1984.