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Alex Jones moved millions of dollars from his media company to firms controlled by him or his family members, possibly removing the funds from the purview of damages ordered by the courts, records reveal according to The Washington Post.
The InfoWars founder and far-right conspiracy theorist had been sued by parents of children murdered in the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut.
Mr Jones made repeated claims that the shooting was a hoax and some of his viewers harassed and sent threats to families who had lost children.
In the summer of 2020, two of the lawsuits against him and his company weren’t going in his favour.
That’s when he started moving millions out of his company Free Speech Systems as the likelihood that he’d be liable for damages increased, The Post reported.
From August 2020 until November of the following year, Free Speech Systems issued promissory notes to the tune of $55m to pay for what it claimed were previous debts to PQPR Holdings, a company that Mr Jones owns alongside his parents.
The company, which is operated by Mr Jones’s father, a dentist, had bought tens of millions worth of supplements that were then sold on the show broadcast by Mr Jones.
An attorney representing Free Speech Systems has said in court that the debts grew without being noticed because of poor bookkeeping.
Mr Jones started paying his personal trainer $100,000 a week this year for help shipping the supplements as well as other merchandise, a lawyer for the company said in court.
Records reveal that a firm operated by Mr Jones’s sister was paid $240,000 while being registered as a “supplier or vendor”.
Mr Jones has been ordered to pay the Sandy Hook families almost $1.5bn in damages. The InfoWars host has said on his show that he plans on appealing the verdict.
The transactions prompted Free Speech Systems to go into bankruptcy in July, legal filings by Mr Jones state.
Court documents say that an accountant employed by Mr Jones calculated that the company owed $79m at the end of May with $14m in assets.
This means that the Sandy Hook families could be competing with other creditors, such as companies linked to Mr Jones, to gather what they’re owed.
Which creditors will be paid and in what amounts will be decided by the bankruptcy court, according to The Post. The court is also reviewing if the transactions with PQPR and others are valid.