Crime

Deputy DA on leave in ID theft

Most identity thefts are about money. But authorities believe a Fresno County deputy district attorney suspected of the crime had a more personal motive: to make life miserable for the mistress who dumped him.

David Evan Jones has not been arrested or charged with any crime, but is on paid administrative leave while a Fresno County Sheriff's Department investigation continues.

Authorities contend that Jones -- described as a rising star in the prosecutor's office who was planning to run for a seat on the Fresno County Superior Court next year -- made obscene, threatening or annoying telephone calls to Clovis resident Michelle Ramos and used her personal information to retaliate against her.

Several incidents are outlined in affidavits that officers filed to obtain search warrants for Jones' home and county office, where computers, cell phones, files and other materials were seized Oct. 5.

These are documents in which officers make their case to a judge that a search is necessary.

Jones, in a brief interview Friday, said he had not seen the allegations and wouldn't respond. But "somebody can say anything in a search warrant [affidavit] and claim you did anything," he said.

Ramos also declined to comment.

Among the lurid incidents detailed are sexually explicit postings on the Craigslist Web site and another Internet site known as "Hornymatches" in which Jones allegedly posed as Ramos, inviting men to contact her for sex.

In doing so, authorities allege, Jones committed identity theft by using her photo, name, home and work phone numbers, work location and birthdate.

There was also a letter mailed to the presiding judge of the Fresno County Superior Court -- where Ramos works -- that purported to be from a woman complaining that Ramos "left her little G-string in my bed while she was sleeping with my husband." The envelope even included a pair of Ramos' underwear.

Jones, 45, is married. Officers said Ramos, 41, told them she broke off the relationship after he refused to divorce his wife.

Ramos told authorities that some of the Internet postings attributed to her contained items that only Jones would have.

One was a picture of her posted on Craigslist that Ramos said was taken by her sister. Ramos told authorities she later gave it to Jones.

Authorities also allege that Jones used Ramos' Social Security number to gain computer access to her cell phone records after Ramos changed the number following a series of harassing phone calls.

A few days after she changed the number, the calls resumed. Authorities say Jones used the computer access to learn the new number and to monitor her calls.

The District Attorney's Office has declined to comment on the case.

But at the Fresno County courthouse, there is a mix of stunned disbelief and curiosity among staffers and attorneys alike. The search-warrant affidavits are popular reading.

Defense attorney Ernest Kinney said Jones is a pleasant person and an effective prosecutor. Before this incident, Kinney said, Jones would have been a strong candidate for judge.

"I think David Jones' star was nothing but on the rise," Kinney said.

"This whole thing makes that star pretty clouded."

The search warrant affidavits, submitted by Fresno County sheriff's detective Destin Watkins, show that based on information from Ramos, authorities had been working for quite some time to tie Jones to the incidents.

The affidavit notes that Jones and Ramos "had an ongoing dating and physical relationship for the past several years." As part of that, Jones "had access to Ramos' phone numbers, knew where she worked, and had private photographs of Ramos."

The harassment began on July 13, 2006, according to information in the search warrant affidavit.

In July and August of last year, Ramos' car was vandalized three times. Then came the letter with the pair of underwear, which was sent to Fresno County Superior Court Judge Edward Sarkisian Jr., who was at that time the presiding judge.

From February through early October of this year, the woman continued to receive annoying phone calls and e-mails sent to her at work.

Recently, she also started receiving calls at her home from men requesting sex. Based on that, the search warrant affidavit states, Ramos discovered the photograph posted on Craigslist.

The body of the posting began: "Hi there, my name is Michelle Ramos ... " It was explicit in parts, identified where she works and also that she lives in Clovis.

The Hornymatches posting was even more explicit, and also named Ramos and listed where she worked.

Watkins, the Fresno County sheriff's detective investigating the case, then responded to the Hornymatches posting, and e-mails sent back on Sept. 4 contained Ramos' home phone number.

The posting also mentioned that Ramos planned to stop at a certain Clovis Starbucks, which in reality she does frequent.

A Hotmail e-mail account provided with the Craigslist and Hornymatches posting, Watkins believes, belongs to Jones.

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