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Attorney General DeWine Announces Lawsuit Against Charity Operator Accused of Identity Theft

Mike DeWine announced a lawsuit against a Columbus charity operator, who has been accused of stealing the identities of clients.

The lawsuit accuses Johnny R. Marcum and his organization, Central Ohio Sober Living, of violating Ohio charitable laws.

“Our investigation uncovered numerous problems with this organization,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We’re seeking a court order to dissolve the organization and to prevent its operator from ever running a charity in Ohio.”

Central Ohio Sober Living’s stated purpose was to provide sober support meetings, counseling, and housing, but law enforcement determined that Marcum had used clients’ personal information to open checking accounts and credit cards, which he allegedly used to make fraudulent transactions. In 2016, Marcum was indicted in Franklin County Common Pleas Court on charges of passing bad checks, identity fraud, forgery, and theft.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section investigated the charity’s operations and found little evidence of charitable programming, even though the organization had solicited contributions on GoFundMe and through its own website. Central Ohio Sober Living also failed to properly register as a charity in Ohio or file annual reports as required by law.

The Attorney General’s lawsuit, filed in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, seeks an injunction to bar Marcum from ever incorporating or serving in a fiduciary role for an Ohio charity and an order to dissolve Central Ohio Sober Living.

Complaints about charities should be filed with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.

CITIZENS FROM COLUMBUS AND THE SURROUNDING AREA HOLD TAX DAY MARCH AND RALLY, DEMANDING THAT TRUMP RELEASE HIS TAX RETURNS

Community members from Columbus and the surrounding area held a Tax Day march and rally at the Federal Building in the Ohio capital. It was one of numerous marches held around the country to demand that President Trump release his tax returns for the purpose of identifying potential conflicts of interest.

This non-partisan, family friendly event was organized by members of the Beechwold Area Indivisibles and Indivisible: Ohio District 12.

Hundreds of participants marched from the John W. Bricker Federal Building in Columbus to the Ohio Statehouse and back. Some marchers—including a father and daughter from West Virginia—had traveled a significant distance to attend the event. Many brought signs reinforcing their demands that Trump release his tax returns, as he promised to do while campaigning.

Trump is the first president in four decades to refuse to release his tax returns to the public. Though Trump has claimed that he is unable to do so because he is currently being audited, IRS commissioner John Koskinen has said there is no restriction by the IRS.

Trump has also claimed that “The only ones that care about my tax returns are the reporters,” but in fact, a poll in January found that 74 percent of Americans surveyed believe he should release his tax returns. Among Republicans surveyed, 53 percent agree that he should make tax documents public. As of today, 1,089,924 people have signed a petition asking for the release of his returns.

As part of the event, several speakers voiced their concerns and demands. Mary Jo Kilroy, a former U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District, underscored the need for transparency among members of government: “As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to release his tax returns. He still has not done so. The public needs and wants to know if President Trump has conflicts of interest regarding tax and other issues that Congress is considering. Transparency is needed to combat corruption.”

David Leland, a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, representing District 22, emphasized the importance of examining Trump’s tax returns to more fully understand his relationship with Russia. “The ongoing investigation of the Trump administration’s ties to Russia and the President’s voluminous business entanglements throughout the globe raise significant concerns. These potential breaches are a threat to our security and to our democracy, and necessitate the release and complete examination of his tax returns.”

Photos and videos from today’s event can be found in several tweets with the hashtag #OH12. Search also for #TaxMarch Columbus. Tweets from other marches around the country have the hashtags #TaxMarch and #TaxDayMarch.

Rachel Coyle‏ @RRuby44 posted several photos and a video from the march:

Tax returns or it didn’t happen, @realDonaldTrump.

Columbus, Ohio #TaxMarch

A lot of people are saying @realDonaldTrump isn’t actually rich or good at business….. #ProveIt #TaxMarch

Carolina Lopez-Ruiz‏ @CLRwordsmatter tweeted a photo:

Over 300 people in the #TaxMarch in Columbus OH #OH12 @OhioDistrict12

Ann Trotter‏ @AnnTrotter tweeted videos and a photo:

#ReleaseYourTaxes @realDonaldTrump Columbus, OH #TaxMarch

#ReleaseYourTaxes @realDonaldTrump!!! #TaxMarch Columbus, OH

#ReleaseYourTaxes @realDonaldTrump Columbus, OH #TaxMarch

Neal Whitman‏ @LiteralMinded tweeted a photo:

One of my favorite signs from the #TaxMarch in Columbus #OH12

foureyes‏ @byerlyse tweeted a photo:

Real nice group of americans in cbus #ohio for #TaxMarch day. #OH12 @CbusIndivisible We are not going away. #resist

Anne‏ @Anne39056379 tweeted a photo:

Good crowd for #TaxMarch in Columbus. What is he hiding? Ohio wants Trump’s tax returns. @senrobportman @PatTiberi

Follow Indivisible: Ohio District 12 on Twitter @OhioDistrict12 and monitor the hashtags #IndivisibleOH12 and #OH12.

Cleveland-Area Woman Agrees to Dissolve Nonprofit Following Problems

DeWine announced that a Berea woman has agreed to dissolve the nonprofit corporation she operated and never again form a charity in Ohio, after an investigation uncovered numerous problems with the organization.

According to the agreement, the nonprofit Advanced Opportunities and Life Enrichment Inc. will be dissolved, and Judith O. Nagy will not hold any position as an officer, trustee, employee, or agent of a charity in Ohio.

Nagy was the principal operator of both Advanced Opportunities and a for-profit entity called New Hope Specialized Services. Both organizations had been certified to provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities but they lost their certification in 2014.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section investigated Nagy’s operation of the nonprofit and found that she had breached her fiduciary duties of care, failed to properly manage accounts, and failed to comply with Ohio’s charitable laws.

Under the terms of the agreement, an assurance of discontinuance filed in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, Nagy cannot be responsible for charitable funds in Ohio.

In a separate case involving related activity, Nagy was indicted in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on theft and other charges in connection with her role as primary operator of Advanced Opportunities and New Hope.

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE WELCOMES NEW ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Tim Derickson Joins Agency

REYNOLDSBURG – Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) Director David T. Daniels has appointed former State Representative Tim Derickson as the department’s assistant director. Derickson most recently served as executive director of the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors. One of his many accomplishments in the legislature was sponsorship of HB 89 in March 2011 that established Ohio Agriculture Week, an annual week of recognition dedicated to the state’s largest industry.

“Tim Derickson will be a perfect addition to our team at ODA,” said Daniels. “His farming background coupled with his legislative and executive experience will help our agency and its dedicated employees serve the people of Ohio by responsibly carrying out ODA’s mission of responsible regulation that allows Ohio’s farmers and food processers to grow and prosper.”

“Farming and agriculture is my heritage and remains my passion,” said Derickson. “I have great respect for agriculture and food processing and the thousands of people who make a significant impact to the state. This industry employs one in seven Ohioans and frankly, it affects everyone. I look forward to being part of a team that promotes the industry, protects consumers, promotes environmental stewardship and monitors plant and animal health, among many important duties.”

Growing up, Derickson worked full-time on his family’s dairy farm in Hanover Township, Butler County, while attending Talawanda High School, Clark State Community College and Miami University. A successful entrepreneur, he managed employer health plans including the Butler County health insurance plan. He and his family later founded Colonial Woods, followed by the development of Indian Ridge Golf Club on the family farm. From 2009 – 2016, Derickson served Butler County’s 53rd District as state representative.

As assistant director, Derickson will oversee ODA’s daily operations, including management of more than 450 employees and more than 15 divisions and offices.

Former Mt. Sterling Mayor, Village Staff Member Are Indicted on Theft Counts

Columbus – A former mayor and the current administrative assistant of the Village of Mt. Sterling were indicted by the Madison County grand jury on a variety of theft counts, following an investigation by local law enforcement and the Ohio Auditor of State.

Former Village Mayor Charles Neff was indicted on two third-degree felony counts of theft in office, a first-degree misdemeanor count of falsification and a second-degree misdemeanor count of dereliction of duty.

Bonnie Liff, administrative assistant and utilities clerk for the village, was indicted on two third-degree felony counts of theft in office.

The indictments were unsealed today when they were served by Madison County Sheriff James P. Sabin. The indictments are related to the investigation that recently led to a 10-year prison sentence for former Mt. Sterling Village Administrator Joseph A. Johnson, who pleaded guilty to felony theft and related crimes for misusing village credit cards to buy more than $724,000 of vehicles, auto parts, televisions and other items for his personal use between 2012 and 2016. In March, former village bookkeeper Victoria L. Sheets pleaded guilty to falsification for doctoring the date on a document that allowed Johnson to obtain his state pension benefits early, before investigators could freeze the account.

“When a government employee steals from taxpayers, it’s always an outrage, but there is something especially disturbing in a case such as this, in which village officers are accused of colluding to steal not from strangers, but from their very own neighbors in their small community,” said Auditor of State Dave Yost. “Two former village officials have answered for their misdeeds. Now the courts will determine if others also have done wrong.”

Neff is accused of issuing a check for $16,702 to Johnson for sick leave in excess of what Johnson was entitled to receive, and of directing Sheets to issue a $38,120 check to Johnson, paying him more than he was authorized to receive for vacation and sick leave payout. These led to the two felony charges and the falsification count. Neff also is accused of failing to credit 25 percent of village income tax revenue to the village’s capital improvement fund, resulting in the dereliction of duty indictment.

Liff is accused of cashing in more sick-leave time than she was permitted to under village policy and more vacation time than she had accrued, resulting in two felony counts of theft in office.

Auditor of State Assistant Legal Counsel Robert F. Smith served as special prosecutor in the case.

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Staff Reports