PHOENIX, AZ (November 21, 2011) – A lifelong fraud artist will spend the next 16 years in prison according to a sentence handed down by Judge Warren Granville. Jeffrey Allen Herald (D.O.B. 6/26/58) pled guilty to five class 2 felony counts of Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices for bilking 38 victims out of $500,000. Herald’s prison term will be followed by five years of supervised probation.
“Despite previous convictions and punishments, this defendant continued to prey on innocent victims and rob them of their hard-earned money. He will have an appropriately long time in prison to ponder the extensive harm he has caused others,” remarked Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
The case against Herald is just the latest criminal episode in a long career of illegal activity that started with his first arrest in 1979 at the age of 21. To date, Herald has been arrested for fraud or theft more than twenty times in Florida, California, Colorado, Wisconsin and Arizona. Despite eight felony convictions in four states, Herald was able to continue perpetrating fraud on unsuspecting victims because he repeatedly changed his name to conceal his criminal history.
Virtually all of Herald’s crimes followed the same basic pattern: he would set up a phony business and take money for services that were never performed. After serving six months in jail in Florida for running a fraudulent fencing company in 1979, Herald ran similar scam operations in California, Wisconsin and Colorado, resulting in open warrants in the latter two jurisdictions after he fled.
He came to Arizona in 1985 and was convicted the following year for fraudulently obtaining a business loan and cashing thousands of dollars in checks on closed accounts. At the time of his sentencing, he fled to Texas where he started three more companies under a false name. In 1988, Herald was convicted of defrauding seventeen victims by taking their money and promising to perform concrete work which was never completed. He was sentenced to 10 years of probation in Texas and was returned to Arizona where he was sentenced to ten years in prison for his previous crimes.
While on parole in Arizona in 1993, Herald continued to commit fraud, scamming another thirty victims by promising fencing work that was never performed. He was sent back to prison, paroled in 2002, after which he absconded and was returned to prison in 2003. After his release in 2005, Herald continued to commit fraud by claiming to be an attorney and taking money for legal services which he never completed. After the State Bar sued him to Cease and Desist, Herald signed an agreement to stop presenting himself as an attorney. He then launched a commercial loan origination business, promising customers fast, high-dollar commercial loans. Once again, unsuspecting victims lost their money.
In September 2008, Herald was indicted on 78 counts of Fraudulent Schemes and Theft. During the pendency of his case, he feigned multiple illness including lung cancer, prostate cancer, gall bladder disease, Parkinson’s disease and ligament cancer. He had two Rule 11 proceedings, only to be found to be malingering. He pled guilty to five counts and will not be eligible for early release until 2025.
The number of known victims of Jeffrey Herald’s criminal career stands at 205, including those in the current case.