(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Coshocton County Prosecutor Jason W. Given announced today that an Ohio couple has been sentenced to prison for running a Craigslist ticket scam that took more than $200,000 from hundreds of victims throughout the U.S. and Canada.
"We're sending an important message to scammers," said Attorney General DeWine. "If you defraud Ohioans, we will find you, and you will face serious penalties. This was one of the worst cases of cyber fraud we have seen, but because of the effective coordination of Ohio law enforcement agencies, these scammers are paying for their crimes by going to prison."
Todd Steinhaus was sentenced to five years in prison for Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, one year (to run concurrently) for Having Weapons While Under a Disability, and one year (to run consecutively) for Failing to Register as a Sex Offender, for a total of six years in prison. Jessica Steinhaus was sentenced to four years in prison for Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity. They were also ordered to pay restitution to the victims.
For four years, Todd and Jessica Steinhaus of Coshocton posted thousands of Craigslist ads across the country advertising tickets to the World Series, NBA Finals, Super Bowl, and dozens of concerts featuring artists including Katy Perry, Kenny Chesney, and Usher. Their ads were false, and they never provided tickets, but they duped unsuspecting consumers in 36 states and Canada into sending more than $200,000.
A cooperative investigation led by the Ohio Attorney General's Economic Crimes Division involved law enforcement from around the state including the Brooklyn Heights Police Department, Mount Vernon Police Department, Coshocton County Sheriff's Office, and the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). Attorneys from the Economic Crimes Division were appointed special prosecutors to assist with the prosecution.
The Ohio Attorney General's Economic Crimes Division was created in March 2011. The unit's purpose is to identify criminal conduct in consumer fraud cases and to assist Ohio's prosecuting attorneys in holding scammers criminally accountable for their actions. To date, the division has opened dozens of investigations, which have led to felony charges against 11 individuals.
Consumers who believe they are a victim of a scam should file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General's Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov
or by calling 800-282-0515.
Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840
Eve Mueller: 614-466-3840