Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Warrant for Joplin businesswoman Amy Jones' arrest will be issued Thursday if she fails to show for court hearing

Judge Richard Copeland is running out of patience with Joplin businesswoman Amy Lynn Jones.

The former Dream Makers owner has failed to show for her last five scheduled hearings as she faces a felony bad check charge.

The most recent no-show took place January 9, when as was the case with the other four occasions, her lawyer, Brian Glades, was there, but she was not. At that point, Judge Copeland reset the hearing for 9 a.m. Thursday, with a notation in the file that if Ms. Jones is not there, a warrant will be issued for her arrest.

Ms. Jones also faces two felony forgery charges.

The allegations against Mrs. Jones, owner of Dream Makers, a wedding planning business, were spelled out in the following probable cause statement:
On 7/22/2013 Amy L. Jones presented check #8406. An altered check, to the Community Bank & Trust, located at 5570 N. Main St. Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri, on the account of Pulaski County Tourism Bureau in the amount of $330.00 and purported the check to be real and genuine.
On 7/25/2013, an altered check, was presented to the Community Bank and Trust, located at 5570 N. Main St. Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri, on the account of LA2Missouri Fitness LLC in the amount of $300.00 and purported the check to be real and genuine.
Witness, Beth Wiles the Executive Director of the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau and Visitors Center, stated that they did not authorize the altering of check #8406 for the payee to be changed from “city of Joplin” to “dream Makers Events”.
Witness, Amy Wills with Anytime Fitness (LA2Missouri Fitness LLC), stated that they did not authorize the altering of check #2862 for the payee to be changed from “city of Joplin” to “dream Makers event”.
Amy Jones is one of the owners of “dream Makers Event” and was the person on bank security video presenting the check #8406 as real and genuine.
Amy Jones, Dream Makers Events, was contracted by the city of Joplin to collect fees for the Route 66 International Festival and agreed to accept checks that were made out to the City of Joplin.
No authorization was given by the City of Joplin for any checks to be altered.
Amy Jones admitted that she was the one who altered the checks and that it was her handwriting. The city of Joplin will assist in the prosecution.

Problems with Ms. Jones and Dream Makers were first brought to the public's attention in the August 18 Inside Joplin, in an article written by Jessica Nugent, which is reprinted below:

With a mother-daughter luncheon, dozens of vendors, and even cake decorating tips, what was billed as the Ultimate Wedding Festival held September 16, 2012, at La Quinta Inn in Joplin certainly lived up to its title.
For the suggested admission price of $5, prospective brides entered a world devoted entirely to them, and better yet, at a time just slightly less than 16 months after May 22, 2011,  all proceeds from the Ultimate Wedding Festival, sponsored by Dream Makers Events of Joplin, were going to Homes of Hope, a charity that has dedicated itself to building 20 homes for those who lost theirs in the tornado that devastated this city.
Nearly a year has passed since the Ultimate Wedding Festival and Homes for Hope is still waiting. How much money has the charity received from Dream Makers?
“Not one red cent,” Crystal Wolfe, Homes of Hope co-founder, told Inside Joplin.
In her dealings with local businesses, Ms. Wolfe said, she has never run across a problem like this. “We’ve done a few fundraisers in Joplin and this is the first time I’ve ever had an issue.”
Prior to the wedding show, Dream Makers Events owner Amy Jones had entered into an agreement with Homes for Hope to donate all proceeds, not just profit, to the charity.
According to Ms. Wolfe, after the festival was held, Ms. Jones told her 237 people attended  and she would give Homes for Hope one dollar out of the five dollar admission fee.
That was months ago and even though that deal was not what she had expected, Ms. Wolfe indicated she was ready to accept the smaller amount. So she waited and waited and waited.
She is still waiting.
When she contacted Ms. Jones, Ms. Wolfe was told she needed to give her 501c3 filings and non-profit status information so that she (Ms. Jones) could take the tax write off. Ms. Wolfe pointed out to her that it was not she who would be eligible for the tax break since she was not the one who made the donations. Still, Ms. Wolfe sent the documents. When she did not receive the money, she called Ms. Jones and was told the documents had never arrived.
At that point, Ms. Wolfe delivered the documents to Ms. Jones in person. “Amy said she did not write checks out of the business office and that she would have to get it from her accountant.  I offered to go by the accountant’s office, but Amy said he was out of town.”
Still the money has not arrived.
And with the recent developments that have surrounded Amy Jones, you can’t blame Crystal Wolfe for being skeptical that Homes for Hope will ever receive a dime.
Ms. Jones was arraigned Thursday in Jasper County Circuit Court and entered a not guilty plea on a felony charge of passing a bad check for more than $500. Online court records indicate the next hearing in the case is scheduled for 9 am. Sept. 26. The check in question, according to court documents, was written Aug. 22, 2012.
Ms. Jones sent the following comment to Inside Joplin concerning the felony charge:
“I was completely unaware of the charge until last week when I was randomly checking on my daughter’s case, who was hit by a car last year, when I saw it and I immediately called my attorney because I knew nothing about this and had no clue what was going on. He advised me to plead not guilty to the charge. My attorney is getting to the bottom of this. We hope to have this resolved very shortly.”
Less than a year ago, Dream Makers Events of Joplin seemed to be on the rise expanding their dealings into northwest Arkansas.  According to an article from, Ms. Jones told reporters Dream Makers Events was expected to be the event and catering coordinator for the new Sheraton Hotel Event Center in Bentonville.
That expectation never came to fruition.
“Our corporation has never given Dream Makers, Amy Jones, or any of its affiliates permission to do business on behalf of our hotel or partners,” said Kunal Mody, CEO and owner of Reimagine Hospitality, the company that owns the Sheraton Hotel.  “Talks were ongoing but never finalized,” he said.
Charlie Brown, former employee of Dream Makers Events, resigned from his position with the company on August 5th.
Brown says he overheard a phone conversation between Amy Jones and a charity in northwest Arkansas  on July 31, in which Ms. Jones asked for a check to be made out to her personal name.
“After my resignation, I contacted the charity, the Arkansas chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and spoke with Amanda Hodge who confirmed they had overnighted a check to Amy for $5,000 to secure the date of an event at the Sheraton Hotel Event Center,” Mr. Brown continued.
When contacted by Inside Joplin, Amanda Hodge had no comment.

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