Saturday, March 21, 2009

"David Lynn Jones . . . the real one"

David Lynn Jones
A High-Ridin' Hero

Some readers may have noticed that I like country music and have occasionally posted entries about this musical tradition, sometimes mentioning David Lynn Jones, a very talented musician and songwriter who grew up in my region of the Ozarks.

Jones seemed to have disappeared at the beginning of this millennium, and his fans have wondered what happened to him. Well, the story is one that deserves a country-and-western song of its own, and maybe Jones will write it.

Okay, I've never done this before, but I'm going to post an entire article that has recently appeared in the Batesville Daily Guard because this fine article doesn't seem to be available online at that newspaper's website, so if you're a David Lynn Jones fan, you'll appreciate this, and if you're a lawyer for the Batesville Daily Guard, I hope that you'll be understanding since I'm not posting this for financial reward but to draw attention to Jones and also to the excellent newspaper in which this article appeared.

I assume that the photo above is related to the Jones story because it appears on the website for the Batesville Daily Guard and asserts that this is "David Lynn Jones . . . the real one" (March 18, 2009). But it's attributed to Melanie Heath and has no story, just this caption:
David Lynn Jones performs on the Independence County Fairgrounds stage a few years back. Izard County’s Jerry Bone is playing bass guitar in the group.
The photo itself must be quite old, perhaps the mid-1980s, but perhaps we'll be seeing some more current photos of Jones someday soon. Anyway, let's read the story, which was sent to me by way of a Jones fan named "Di" who'd received it from a friend who works for the Batesville Daily Guard. The story is by associate editor Larry Stroud, but I don't have the title . . . unless it's "David Lynn Jones . . . the real one":
After fighting identity theft for seven years, country singer/songwriter David Lynn Jones is ready to take back his life.

During that time, Jones, on paper, was three people -- and at times, four.

"Two guys were playing me," Jones said. "It's unimaginable, until you go through it . . . that someone who doesn't even look like you can steal your identity. The damage," he said, "is incalculable."

Jones may be ready to sing "I Feel A Change Comin' On" again. That's the title of one of his singles from his heyday.

During better times, Jones released four acclaimed albums -- "Hard Times on Easy Street" (1987), "Wood, Wind and Stone" (1990), "Mixed Emotions" (1992) and "Play by Ear" (1994).

His charting singles include "Bonnie Jean (Little Sister)" which was also a popular music video on television, "High Ridin’ Heroes" (with Waylon Jennings), "The Rogue" and "Tonight in America."

He may be best-known for writing "Living in the Promiseland," a No. 1 hit for Willie Nelson.

While Jones kept writing songs during the past seven years, he could not release them because the identity theft culprits were getting his royalty checks by having the checks sent to their address. Much of the time, that address was in Colorado.

Now, Jones and his wife, Illa, who live east of Cave City, are looking forward to teaming up to record and release a new album.

He also has unreleased albums from the past that can now be put before the public.

"There's five (previously recorded David Lynn Jones) albums that never were released," Jones said. He plans to make those available to buyers on the Internet within the next few months.

Fans should be patient, though, because it may take quite awhile, he said.

In February, Baxter County sheriff’s investigators arrested Danny James Sullivan, who was working at a McDonald's in Mountain Home under the name David Lynn Jones.

Sullivan was also drawing disability checks from the government under his own name while working at the McDonald's under Jones' name. His aliases include Danny J. Bass and Danny J. Rader.

A day later, acting on a tip, the alleged mastermind of the plot, Janis Rae Wallace, was arrested at a home in Fayetteville. Wallace is also known as Janis French and Janis Rae Jones, the name she used while posing as the real Davis Lynn Jones' "wife."

She's even booked into the jail as Janis Rae Jones.

Wallace and Sullivan, both 51, remain in jail -- she, on a $500,000 bond and he, on a $200,000 bond.

They are each charged with nine counts of felony financial identity fraud, according to an affidavit filed with the charges and signed by sheriff's Sgt. Bob Buschbacher.

The information filed with the charges and in arrest reports matches the story told by Jones -- the real Jones.

"Those are all federal charges," Jones said.

The theft started, Jones said, when Wallace stole his driver's license while working for him.

"At the time, my Social Security number was the same as my driver's license number, and with just that information, they infiltrated my life," Jones said.

Soon, he was getting no mail. It was all going to the fake David Lynn Jones' address via an address change. The mail included preapproved credit card applications that the thieves filled out; after they maxed out the cards, they reported them stolen.

"Among the stolen items via mail were personal checks and business checks from music royalties the victim had earned as a songwriter and musician," Sgt. Buschbacher said.

"They had 'me' moved to Colorado; my phone was shut off," Jones said. "This was back in 2002 . . . . By the time we realized what was going on, we couldn't get it stopped. They wound up with my royalty checks from publishing music," including royalties from "Living in the Promiseland."

Buschbacher said that in the beginning, to further the identity theft scheme, Sullivan, posing as Jones, filled out an identity theft passport request victim information sheet and submitted it to the attorney general's office. Then, he obtained an Arkansas driver's license in the victim's name.

Meanwhile, Jones' elaborate and well-known recording studio at Bexar was stripped of all its expensive equipment.

"I still own the studio," Jones said Saturday. "It's for sale and has been for some time. These people had gone out there and took down the for sale sign and put up no trespassing signs. They were drawing money out of my checking account, which eventually caused me to be overdrafted," he said. His interest rates were doubled because of a bad credit rating.

And to add insult to injury, Wallace convinced people who dealt with Jones financially that someone was trying to steal her identity ("She was speaking as my 'wife,'" Jones said). So, those who could have helped would not even listen to the real Jones.

"When we started talking to credit card companies and banks, they didn’t believe it (was me)," Jones said.

The crowning portion of the identity theft scheme was yet to come.

"They started telling everybody I'd been in a horrible accident in Colorado and I was in a wheelchair and I couldn't play and sing anymore," Jones said. "She even wrote a letter and sent it to all of my family saying that."

Since he had been busy with his work during the earlier part of the problems and hadn't been in touch with family members regularly, several of them even believed the accident story, he said.

"My mother (Verna Jones) passed away during all of this and we were trying to make funeral arrangements," and a check his brother mailed to help with those expenses went to Colorado into the thieves' hands, Jones said. "Even my own brother didn't understand what was going on. I told him I never got the check . . . . It's so crazy when you're actually experiencing it."

The investigation revealed that Wallace and Sullivan obtained a Social Security card, a Colorado identification card and the Arkansas driver's license, all in the name of David Lynn Jones. Wallace then obtained power of attorney over Jones, claiming he was mentally disabled due to the fake "accident."

Wallace and Sullivan were even filing joint federal income tax returns as Mr. and Mrs. David Lynn Jones. Those returns were filed in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Jones said as soon the investigation revealed the first name of the suspect, he knew who was behind the scheme even though she was giving her last name as Jones. Still, the identity thieves stayed one step ahead of authorities for a long time.

Before being arrested, Wallace and Sullivan were trying to get the title to some land Jones owns in Baxter County, authorities said.

A break in the case occurred 15 months ago when Wallace, as Mrs. Jones, and Sullivan, as Jones, applied in person for an identity theft passport at the Arkansas Attorney General's Office.

As soon as Wallace and Sullivan were arrested, investigators obtained search warrants for their houses. Jones said several items found in their homes could only have been obtained by their breaking into his home east of Cave City, where he and his wife have lived for five years.

"We've known for years things were being pilfered, things moved around. They were hanging out in the woods, watching for us to leave (so they could get into the house)."

Investigators found pictures and other items taken from inside Jones' house, as well as photos of the house taken from the driveway.

Jones said officers on the trail of the crooks had been advising Jones for months to be alert and stay well-armed, because one possible logical next step could be to eliminate Jones and his wife, so the identity thieves "could become us. That could have been the last (planned) step," particularly with them applying for the identity passport, Jones said. "Who knows what would have happened next?"

He has high praise for the attorney general's agent who felt something was wrong when Wallace and Sullivan approached him about getting that passport.

"That's what got them caught," Jones said.

The agent was suspicious enough to go into another room and look for pictures of Jones on the Internet. The pictures did not match the man claiming to be Jones.

"If it had not been for the attorney general's office, it'd still be going on," Jones said. "The attorney general's officer said it was the worst case he'd ever seen in all his years of investigating identity theft."

Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery said the investigation involved personnel from the attorney general's office, the Social Security Administration's Inspector General's office and the sheriff's office.

Jones said he expects he still has years to go to clear the damage to his name.

When asked what the identity theft has cost him, Jones did not give a dollar figure. Instead, he said quietly, "It's cost me seven years of my life."
Well, that's quite a story. I knew something about it before this story broke because in the comments to my first blog entry about David Lynn Jones, a 'discussion' took place concerning the 'real' Jones. Based on what a couple of my brothers who know Jones personally had told me, I stated that Jones was living near Cave City. But a man in Mountain Home posted a comment stating that he had met the real Jones there in Mountain Home. I had my doubts and asked another friend, Herschel Ducker of Melbourne, Arkansas, to check this out. Our 'private' investigation was operating parallel to the official one, though we didn't know about that. The authorities were aware of my blog and were, apparently, concerned that the fake Jones might be alerted by Herschel's inquiries. At any rate, Herschel and I quickly concluded that the Mountain Home 'Jones' was a fraud, but we had no absolute proof and left things at that. We were both enormously relieved to learn that the law had caught up with the identity thieves. Herschel found out before I did because the authorities contacted him to let him know that they were investigating the man in Mountain Home who was claiming to be Jones. Soon after that, the story broke.

Now that the real Jones has his life back, maybe he can get on with his life and give us some more great music . . . like "High Riding Heroes," which he sings with Waylon Jennings and which you can now enjoy on You Tube:
Daylight or midnight,
red eyes and that old hat,
whiskey-spent and busted flat,
and a credit to his faults.
He's a bad risk and a good friend,
small change and loose ends,
and he only regrets that he might've been
a little faster on the draw

Hey, those old high ridin' heroes,
they're anywhere the wind blows.
He's been to hell and Texas
and he knows how it feels
to be ridin' that hot streak,
drunk on some back street,
fallin' off the wagon,
and under the wheels.

Time was, when he was king.
Now the rodeo's just an old man's dream,
and the highs are few and far between,
and the lows get the rest.
But these old hard times ain't nothin' new.
Once you've done the best you can do,
You just tip your hat to the wider blue,
Ride off to the west.

Hey, those old high ridin' heroes,
they're anywhere the wind blows.
He's been to hell and Texas
and he knows how it feels
to be ridin' that hot streak,
drunk on some back street,
fallin' off the wagon,
and under the wheels.
Maybe Jones can finally get out from under those wagon wheels, back onto the road again, and those five albums released.

UPDATE: From Jerry Bone, I have a correction concerning the photo above, which I had mis-dated around the mid-80s: "I would say 91 was the correct time frame. The other two band members in the pic are Rick Richards on drums who lives in Houston Texas and on percussion Richie Albright former drummer with Waylon for 15 plus years. Richie played drums on all those old hits of Waylons. In fact he was back with Jennings when Waylon became ill and passed away. Richie was our road manager in those days . . . . I think he is working with Jessie Colter now Waylons wife."

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At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well now Jeff, Di?

Did either of you know my birthday is March 21st? Ten minutes from now it will be that date where I am, but I'm damned pleased that Korea is on the other side of the IDL.

Uh Jeff?

One other thing, did you inherit something from Cran? Lifting a newspaper article is pert near to lifting a melon.

Herschel D.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, Herschel, I'm hoping that I will obtain a reprieve on this.

I've written an email to the author requesting permission but offering to edit the article if preferred.

By the bye, happy birthday.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:14 AM, Blogger Bill said...


These parasite's doings make recent stories on dime & melon thefts and chicken murders sound like pretty small "taters".

I hope some property (we know the seven years of life cannot) is recoverable for DLJ and wife.


At 1:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are absolutely correct.

I know of three other such "cases" albeit none have the "star-status" this one has. This identity thievery is a real danger and has much larger implications than most realize.

Should anyone sniff some sort of foul odor on a credit card statement, driver's license problem, really anything "out of the ordinary" where one's personal stuff is involved - it is not a simple matter of making the credit card company aware.

File a police report. This of course is no guarentee because most local departments are unequipped to handle the complexities of ferreting out necessary information. And, it takes alot of manhours. It's more cost effective for a local department to concentrate on drug (meth) busts, DWI's, and speeding tickets. Plus those sorts of things keep the locals on the front pages and re-elected.

But file the report anyway.

The credit card companies actually have a dis-incentive where it comes to follow-up on the problem because well, it's not good publicity for the general credit card companies to let potential customers know how big the problem is.

But file the report. That must be done first because without that, there isn't a "handy" place to begin. Too often people are satisfied when the card issuer removes the questionable debit and re-credits. Satisfied that is, until the next time.

Herschel D.

At 4:20 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Bill, I'd prefer not to have such a story as this one to post, but David Lynn lived it, and people need to know.

I hope that Mr. Larry Stroud and the Batesville Daily Guard will let me keep the whole thing here online for everyone to read. Mr. Jerry Bone was happy to read it and see the photo, said that he'd been trying to get a copy of the article but hadn't managed to find one.

It's a well-written piece that Mr. Larry Stroud put together, and the final line is perfect.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:22 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Herschel, thanks for the good advice. From the article, David Lynn seems to have been caught unawares.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:48 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Jeff & Herschel:
Mr. Stroud's writings (published in the BDG) would, I think, be public record.
And thanks to Herschel for giving some good pointers on identity protection.

At 7:03 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Public record, yes, but one isn't allowed to 'quote' an entire article if the copyright holder objects . . . and I'm hoping that no one will object.

I haven't yet heard back.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 8:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Jeff,

If I were you, I'd hire Cran just in the offchance you "might" need some uh, "representation?"

Of course I understand he'll not be able to stand before a Court and introduce "The Year of Jubilee" as a legitimate means to an end.

Just sayin'.

And of course I recognize I'll probably have to slip back under the covers in case my nemesis "JK" happens upon this post.

Why is it anyway that Cran and JK are able to have such good times when on the very infrequent occasion, I happen to comment?

I've never understood that.

Herschel D.

At 8:12 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Herschel, it's an enigma. Wrapped in a mystery.

Or vice-versa.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 8:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh one other thing Jeff,

Paying Cran for any services shouldn't be too onerous.

A dime and a watermelon should suffice. Make it a Liberty Dime and since Cave City is the "Watermelon Capital of the World" well, it won't be like you were hiring F. Lee Bailey.

Herschel D.

At 8:48 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I'd heard that Hope was that particular capital . . . but there ain't a dime's worth of difference between hope and a caved-in city no-how.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watermelons or dimes, either will suit me. I could use a truckload of either at your convenience.

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Now, Uncle Cran is claiming that he can fabricate a suit out of melons and dimes!

That's quite a fabrication.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well "Can"

Just grab a bicycle and head off to the nearest patch.

But wait a few months, meanwhile get into Linda Gaye's coin jar.

Jeff and I will remunerate you of course.

See Jeff, all you need do is provide the dime. "Can" can get all the melons he needs: practice, experience, and Old Covenant protection.

As I said, "Can" is no F. Lee B.


At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Had to look into it a bit. You "may" be on the hook here having offerred 'legal advice'?

Dimes? Jeff and I will accept, watermelons... well.

The quotes from police department and/or a specific officer releases are indeed "public record." And unless a specific officer requests anonymity, any statement to a known reporter is subject to FOIA.

Now as to a particular journalist/author's putting together an assortment of facts/assertions and then publishing same in a manner where copyright declarations are clearly stated?

Ummm, I think Cran's buddy may be waiting in the wings to see if I boo-boo big time.

I don't comment very often and it's pretty easy to guess (or know) why.

I used to be able to dig my own holes - now I "enjoy" the help of the Hodges clan.

I wish it wasn't my birthday. Having "Can" around makes me skittery.

Herschel D.

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Herschel, so long as we're all into irony, maybe we won't end behind iron bars . . . unless irony bars understanding.

Oh, and I think that I'll leave Uncle Cran to his own lawlessness under the law.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 3:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is my friend JK when I need him?

Now even fellow bloggers are adding their "compliments" toward yours truly!

Jeffery & I decided that any comment made re my stories are in actuality hidden compliments.
This deluge of "compliments" overwhelms me.


At 4:06 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Did I say "compliments"? I meant "complements." Every new fact posted about you on this blog complements our picture of your character, Uncle Cran.

Let the complements continue.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 11:39 AM, Blogger tagryn said...

* Amazing story. So >that< is what happened to DLJ! I'm willing to take this at face value, since it corresponds with the research you all were doing in the original thread.

* Don't understand why it wouldn't be on the newspaper's website yet. However...if you look here, there's a gap of over 2 weeks where none of the news stories in the newspaper got put online, and the DLJ story is in that gap. My guess is its just a simple oversight.

* Five albums worth of unreleased DLJ material? My goodness. It'll be such a great thing if and when we get to buy them. Hope that comes together.

* This didn't just hurt DLJ and his family, though obviously they're the damaged party here. The thieves also deprived the fans of years of hearing DLJ's music. Our lives too have been made the poorer because of this crime.

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Tagryn, thanks for noting that gap. I'd guess computer problems rather than oversight, so I am perhaps doing the Batesville Daily Guard a favor by posting it.

Yes, the criminals have harmed a lot of people. I hope that David Lynn can get his life back together now.

In a comment on my very first DLJ post, my brother Tim told us that David Lynn had sold all of his instruments, but we now see that the fake DLJ must have stolen them from the studio and sold them under DLJ's name.

I'm glad to hear that David Lynn wasn't giving up on his music during these lean years.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 8:51 AM, Blogger tagryn said...

Another thing that comes to mind is that we may need to temper our expectations somewhat as to what the unreleased material may consist of. I'm not expecting much of the full-band, high-production, expensive-to-make songs that we saw a fair amount on the 4 released albums, for example. I'm guessing a lot, if not most of it, was done by DLJ working alone in his studio. But I could be wrong...and I'd be happy with anything we get. "We Were All A Lot Older Then" is a very simple song with just DLJ on guitar, but its also one of my favorites.

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Tagryn, I think that some of the earlier music was done in the 90s with Jerry Bone and other professionals, so it's probably not all David Lynn by himself.

Yet, since he says that he continued writing songs, then he may have some that he did alone . . . but was it done in his studio? My impression is that the studio got stripped fairly early in this identity-theft case.

Jeffery Hodges

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