Alex Jones reportedly concealing funds to avoid $1.5bn payout to Sandy Hook families
Rightwing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones appears to be moving his money to friends and family in an attempt to avoid paying out nearly $1.5bn in damages to the families of the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, a new report reveals.
Last year, Jones was ordered to pay the huge damages following his years-long claims on his digital platform Infowars that the mass shooting was a hoax staged by the government to take away guns from Americans.
According to a recent New York Times investigation into Jones’s financial and legal documents, the far-right broadcast agitator transferred assets worth millions of dollars outside the reach of creditors as lawsuits from Sandy Hook families as well as court sanctions stacked up against him over the past years.
As part of a series of maneuvers to avoid paying for legal damages, Infowars’ parent company, Free Speech Systems, as well as Jones himself, declared bankruptcy last year.
“I’m officially out of money, personally,” Jones said on Infowars in December. “It’s all going to be filed. It’s all going to be public. And you will see that Alex Jones has almost no cash,” the Associated Press reports Jones saying.
However, the new investigation by the New York Times found that in addition to Jones spending $80,000 on a private jet, security and a villa during his time in Connecticut last year to testify at trial, he also appeared to have been sneaking away his money to various entities.
The report revealed that in October 2021, Jones made a business agreement with Auriam Services, a month-old company founded by lifestyle blogger Anthony Gucciardi, a friend of Jones. According to the report, Auriam Services was to function as a credit card processing intermediary.
Then, in February 2022, Jones transferred his $3m estate in Austin, Texas, to his wife, Erika Wulff Jones. The estate spans over 5,400 sq ft and boasts four bedrooms and five bathrooms, in addition to a pool and a spa.
The investigation also found that Jones signed a contract last July with Blue Ascension, a new company founded just a few months prior by Patrick Riley, Jones’s former personal trainer and assistant. That same month, Free Speech Systems filed for bankruptcy.
In response, the victims’ families filed a lawsuit that claimed that Jones was fraudulently moving his money away from creditors, including transferring $11,000 a day to $11,000 a week and “up to 80 percent of his [diet] supplement sales” to PQPR, a company controlled by Jones and his parents, the New York Times reports.
In January, Jones submitted a personal balance sheet to a bankruptcy court in Texas which the New York Times reviewed. The sheet indicated that Jones had approximately only $5.6m in total assets.
However, a financial statement submitted by Jones’s attorneys last month, which was prefaced by “five pages of disclaimers” saying that Jones is not fully aware of where he has bank accounts, indicated that Jones had far more money.
According to the documents reviewed by the New York Times, Jones’s property was revealed to be valued at a total of $10m. It also indicated that his stated monthly income was $129,000, with $104,000 coming from undisclosed sources.
Last month, Jones remained adamant about maintaining his platform and company, saying on his podcast, “If anybody thinks they’re shutting me down, they’re mistaken,” the New York Times reported.
Despite being awarded nearly $1.5bn in legal damages, Sandy Hook families are uncertain whether they will be paid the full amount.
“There’s a chance we’re going to be forced into a situation where we’re going to be checking to see how Infowars is doing every month to figure out if our clients are getting paid or not,” Mark Bankston, one of the families’ attorneys, told the outlet.
Earlier this month, Free Speech Systems proposed a bankruptcy plan that would pay an annual salary of $520,000 to Jones and leave $7 million to $10 million to annually pay creditors, including the victims’ families.