Child support scrutinized in tickets scam

Former University of Kansas official Rodney Jones, right, leaves the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Wichita, Kan., on Friday, Jan. 14, 2011, with his attorney, Gerald Handley, after appearing in court, accused of conspiring to steal more than million in tickets to athletic events.

As authorities seek to recover restitution from defendants convicted in the Kansas University ticket scandal, federal prosecutors are now eyeing two lump-sum child support payments former Williams Fund head Rodney Jones made before his guilty plea in the case.

According to court records, the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges that two transfers Jones made in 2010 to his ex-wife totalling $100,000 were fraudulent based on the restitution and forfeiture debt Jones owes Kansas Athletics Inc., its insurance company and the Internal Revenue Service.

Jones was among four former athletic department employees and one consultant who pleaded guilty in the case and were sentenced to prison as part of a scheme to steal more than $2 million worth of KU football and basketball tickets and distribute them to brokers and others.

Attorneys for the government and Jones’ ex-wife, Alanna Jennifer Jones, now a Missouri resident, in court filings have said Jones in 2010 made two withdrawals of $70,000 and $27,000 each from his retirement account that he accrued through his employment at Kansas Athletics. An attorney for Alanna Jones said Rodney Jones told her attorneys advised him the advance payments were proper and lawful.

However, according to court filings, the timing of when Jones took out the money and made payments to Alanna Jones is what concerns prosecutors.

Jones resigned his position with the athletics department in April 2010 and later withdrew $70,000 in July 2010 and wrote a check to Alanna Jones. He made the $27,000 withdrawal in December 2010, one month after he was indicted. Jones pleaded guilty in 2011, and he is now in federal prison in El Reno, Okla.

The two amounts covered pre-payments or eight years worth of child support for his son. Prosecutors later in 2011 notified Alanna Jones they believed the funds were “fraudulent transfers” and subject to being voided based on Jones’ restitution judgment.

According to a letter from prosecutors last summer, Alanna Jones agreed to settle the matter with an $80,000 payment to the government, but her attorney said Rodney Jones later refused to consent to the settlement, which broke one condition of the arrangement.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth G. Gale is expected to ask attorneys in the Jones garnishment matter to provide him more information and possibly schedule a future hearing.

The criminal case included Jones and co-defendants being found liable for $1.06 million total in restitution to Kansas Athletics, and Jones was ordered to individually pay $113,843 to the IRS.

Federal prosecutors last year also sued another defendant, Ben Kirtland, and his ex-wife, Mary Jean Kirtland, alleging that Ben Kirtland intended to defraud the government when he transferred a house in Lenexa and other property to her during their divorce. According to court records, that lawsuit, in which the government seeks to void transfers by Kirtland of more than $400,000, is still pending.

— Reporter George Diepenbrock can be reached at 832-7144. Follow him