(XENIA, Ohio)—Attorney General Mike DeWine and Greene County Prosecutor Stephen K. Haller said Jason Johnson, the third of three individuals charged in a tree-trimming scam that targeted the elderly in Greene, Franklin, Butler, and Montgomery counties, was sentenced today to eight years in prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $31,307. The case represents a collaboration of the Attorney General's Office Economic Crimes Division, the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney, and other law enforcement agencies.
"This is exactly the type of case I envisioned when we created the Economic Crimes Division," said Attorney General DeWine. "We are putting resources from the Attorney General's Office together with local cops and prosecutors to put scammers who prey on seniors behind bars."
In Greene County Common Pleas Court, Johnson, 29, pled guilty to Conspiracy to Engage in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity and several counts of Theft from the Elderly. He was the last of three Springfield area men to plead guilty to participating in a scheme to defraud elderly persons out of nearly $100,000 in a pattern of overcharging for tree trimming and lawn service work.
Today represents the culmination of an investigation that spanned more than three years and included multiple law enforcement agencies from four Ohio counties. The investigation was led by Greene County's A.C.E. Task Force. Greene County Prosecutor Stephen K. Haller praised the efforts of A.C.E. Director Bruce May and Greene County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Shawn Prall.
"Their persistence, determination and cooperation with area agencies resulted in a successful prosecution," said Prosecutor Haller.
The investigation into this criminal enterprise also involved the West Chester Police Department and the Kettering Police Department.
Led by Principal Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Blanton, the Attorney General's Economic Crimes Division works to identify potential criminal cases from the Consumer Protection Section, present them to local law enforcement and coordinate assistance from the Ohio Attorney General's Office to aid in their prosecution.
Christopher Gibbs, 25, pled guilty last December to one count of Conspiracy to Engage in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, two counts of Theft from an Elderly Person, and one count of Attempted Theft from an Elderly Person. He was sentenced in January to three years in prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $32,940.
Timothy Henery, 36, pled guilty last October to related charges and was placed on Community Control for five years, required to attend a community-based correctional facility for in-house drug treatment, and ordered to pay $32,940 in restitution.
Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840
Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840