Hot check leads to Parker Jones Law Firm

Parker Jones
Josh Briggs
Managing Editor

A local candidate for public office has found himself in more financial troubles.

According to documents obtained Friday through the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, a check from the law firm of Parker Jones — in the amount of $909.05 — has returned as no good.

Jones is currently seeking the office of Saline County Prosecuting Attorney.

On Friday, a representative of Arkansas Copier, of Little Rock, filed hot check documentation with the Saline County prosecuting attorney.

The check was written to Arkansas Copier on Jan. 18 and deposited by the company the next day. However, the funds were insufficient, according to a statement from Regions Bank which was issued Jan. 19.

The check was signed by Tiffany Bishnate, an employee of the firm.

In a statement given Friday to Debbie Wilmoth, hot check administrator for the prosecutor, a company representative said Jones told her that the company waited a month to deposit the check and that is why it did not clear, however, records prove otherwise.

A returned deposited item notice was sent to Arkansas Copier on Jan. 23.

The representative also told Wilmoth that she had scheduled a 10 a.m. meeting with Jones at his firm Friday, but when she arrived, the door was locked and no one spoke to her.

According to Randall Thompson, owner of the business, Jones owes more than $1,300 — including the hot check — for unpaid lease agreement payments dating back 11 months and maintenance and supplies payments that have also gone unpaid.

"We have given him multiple chances to come current with this bill," Thompson said. "We have talked to the secretaries and finally they have learned all of our phone numbers and all the voices of our ladies so every time we called they would know it was us and would hang up the phone.

"They have made no attempt to make contact with us at all. Finally, our last resort was turning it over to the prosecutor."

Thompson said the lease agreement was in the amount of $89.65 per month.

"He did try to come by in July (2017) to make a partial payment on a month's lease, but he might have paid me $40 because it was only a partial payment," Thompson said.

Thompson added he is attempting to repossess a copy machine from Jones' firm, but has been unsuccessful in doing so to this point. He added that once he retrieves the machine, the next step will be to file a small claims case against Jones in attempt to get the owed funds.

The Saline Courier also obtained a letter of notification mailed to Jones' firm.

The letter states that "A complaint has been made to this office that you have violated the Arkansas "Hot Check Law." Violations of this law are punishable by fine and/or imprisonment in the county jail or state penitentiary.

"The purpose of this letter is to give you the opportunity to make restitution on the following check(s) and all other bad checks by 5-21-18 or a summons or warrant for your arrest will be issued by the court."

Wilmoth confirmed that offenders are first sent a letter in attempt to collect payment and that if in 30 days no payment is made, a warrant is issued for the individual's arrest.

Thompson said that he wants his machine back and the money owed and that he does not plan to conduct further business with Jones. 

"I am a business man and I do a lot of business and that is not the ethics that I go by," Thompson said. "If you can't pay your bills then I don't need to sale you anything. At the time that he came in he was good, but all of a sudden he stopped paying any of his bills (to Arkansas Copier)."

Any attempt to reach Jones for comment was unsuccessful.

On May 4, the Courier reported other financial issues surrounding Jones, which stated that he was issued a lien for unpaid 2015 state income taxes on Aug. 25, 2016, in the amount of $1,463.21, according to records obtained through FOIA.

On June 15, 2017, Jones was issued a release from the Department of Finance and Administration following a payment in full.

“It was an oversight on our part and it was paid in full last year,” Jones said May 4.

Jones also owed delinquent personal property taxes and real estate taxes earlier this year, totaling more than $3,600 dollars, which he has since paid in full, according to receipts obtained from Jones.