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Man Who Allegedly Staged Own Death Arrested

September 19, 1989

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ The FBI, tipped off by TV viewers, sent a blank sheet of paper by certified mail to catch a man suspected of staging his death in a 1982 boat explosion to collect more than $500,000 in life insurance.

Allen ″Buck″ Jones, 34, featured last month on the program ″America’s Most Wanted,″ was arrested Monday.

Postal workers in Dania had reported to the FBI that Jones resembled a man named Mark Spencer who leased a postal box there. On Monday, postal workers notified Spencer that he had received an envelope via certified mail.

The envelope was an FBI ploy.

Although postal workers attempted to stall him, Jones left before the FBI arrived. But sheriff’s deputies spotted his van and arrested him.

Inside the van, deputies found an automatic weapon, a silencer, $40,000 in cash, a $40,000 cashier’s check and marijuana, said sheriff’s spokesman George Crolius.

Jones and his father are accused of trying to collect insurance from his ″death″ in South Carolina, which until May was thought to have been real.

The mystery began when Jones’ boat exploded on Lake Murray near Columbia, S.C., one day before Jones was to stand trial on burglary charges. Rescue workers found no body and Jones was declared dead after the accident.

In May, however, an informant told investigators that Jones was living in Florida under the alias Mark Allen Spencer, the FBI said.

Jones’ father, Charles M. Jones Jr., is in custody and is scheduled to stand trial later this month.

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