From the Attorney General’s Office


Sunbury News Staff



Troopers seize 92 pounds of marijuana in Madison County

DEERCREEK TOWNSHIP – Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers filed felony drug charges against a Minnesota man after a traffic stop in Madison County. During the traffic stop, troopers seized 92 pounds of marijuana, which is valued at approximately $460,000.

On December 5, 2017 at 10:31 a.m., troopers stopped a 2011 Ford Taurus with Oklahoma registration for an unsafe lane change violation on Interstate 70 near milepost 76. Criminal indicators were observed and troopers detected an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. A probable cause search revealed the contraband.

The suspect, Whisky Vang, 27, of Minneapolis, was incarcerated in the Tri-County Jail and charged with possession of marijuana, a second-degree felony.

If convicted, he could face up to eight years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine.

Five Ohioans Sentenced for Insurance Fraud

COLUMBUS – Five people across Ohio have been sentenced for insurance crimes resulting from investigative work by the Ohio Department of Insurance, department director Jillian Froment announced.

“Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime and ultimately drives up the cost of insurance for consumers,” Froment said. “We take allegations of fraud seriously and work closely with our law enforcement partners to investigate criminal activity and hold those accountable for their actions.”

Clermont County/Shandell Thomas and Aaron Thomas

In October, Shandell Thomas, of Cincinnati, was sentenced in court to five years of community control and ordered to pay $12,215 in restitution to five insurance companies. In November, her husband Aaron Thomas received a community control sentence of five years, also for insurance fraud. The couple submitted false medical invoices to insurance companies related to an auto insurance claim.

Licking County/Vernisha Shepherd-Harris

In November, Vernisha Shepherd-Harris, of Pataskala, was sentenced in court to two years of community control for insurance fraud. She submitted $3,488 in false medical bills to an insurance company as part of an auto insurance claim.

Scioto County/Lisa Chamberlin

In November, insurance agent Lisa Chamberlin, of Lucasville, was sentenced in court to five years of community control for insurance fraud and ordered to pay more than $5,000 in restitution to an insurance company. She provided fabricated insurance applications to the company to receive commission money.

Lucas County/Trivia Wilson

In November, Trivia Wilson, of Toledo, was sentenced in court to three years of community control for attempted insurance fraud and ordered to pay restitution. Wilson submitted $11,845 in fictitious receipts to an insurance company tied to a property loss insurance claim.

The Ohio Department of Insurance, one of the state’s largest consumer protection agencies, investigates allegations of insurance fraud and assists in the prosecution of agent, consumer and provider wrongdoing relating to the business of insurance.

Ohioans aware of insurance fraud and professional misconduct should report it to the department by calling 1-800-686-1527. Insurance fraud information is available at www.insurance.ohio.gov.

Attorney General DeWine Files Consumer Protection Action Against Cleveland Used Car Seller

(CLEVELAND)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a consumer protection lawsuit against a Cleveland used car seller accused of failing to deliver vehicle titles to customers.

The lawsuit accuses New School Auto LLC and owner Abigail Ferry of violating Ohio’s consumer protection laws.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has received dozens of complaints against New School Auto of 3855 Ridge Road in Cleveland. Some consumers complained that they never received titles to vehicles they bought from the dealership, resulting in 15 claims totaling $33,876 being paid from the state’s Title Defect Recision Fund to help resolve consumers’ title complaints.

The Attorney General’s lawsuit seeks an end to any violations of the law, reimbursement to affected consumers, reimbursement to the Title Defect Recision Fund, and an order prohibiting Abigail Ferry from maintaining, renewing, or applying for an auto dealer license until reimbursement and penalties are paid.

Consumers who have title problems should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.

Petition for Constitutional Amendment Related to Drug Crime Penalties Certified

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Attorney General’s Office Dec. 8 certified a petition for a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution regarding penalties associated with drug crimes.

On December 1, 2017, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received a written petition to amend the Ohio Constitution, entitled “The Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment, and Rehabilitation Amendment” from legal counsel for the petitioning committee called Ohio Safe and Healthy Communities Campaign. The petitions were both certified today as containing both the necessary 1,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters and a “fair and truthful” summary of the proposed amendment.

“Without passing upon the advisability of the approval or rejection of the measure to be referred, but pursuant to the duties imposed upon the Attorney General’s Office […] I hereby certify that the summary is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed law,” Attorney General DeWine stated in the certification letter for each petition.

Once the summary language and initial signatures are certified, the Ohio Ballot Board must determine if the amendments each contain a single issue or multiple issues. The petitioners must then collect signatures for each issue from registered voters in each of 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, equal to 5 percent of the total vote cast in the county for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election. Total signatures collected statewide must also equal 10 percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election.

The full text of the letters and the amendment petitions submitted can be found at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/Petitions.

Water Operator pleads guilty

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Dec. 5 that a Niles man has pleaded guilty to issuing invalid training certificates to Youngstown Water Department employees and will permanently lose his certifications as a water operator and training instructor in Ohio.

Anthony Vigorito, 42, pleaded guilty today to one count of tampering with records, a first-degree misdemeanor; one count of attempted forgery, a first-degree misdemeanor; and one count of criminal non-compliance with Ohio Revised Code Chapter 6109 (safe drinking water rules), an unclassified misdemeanor.

As a result of the Chapter 6109 conviction, all of Vigorito’s certifications as a water operator and training instructor are permanently revoked.

The offenses stemmed from Vigorito, as part of his own training business, issuing invalid training certificates for water-operator classes at the Youngstown Water Department in 2014. Contact hours for the operators who signed up for the classes were not completed as required by Ohio Environmental Protection Agency training rules.

Visiting Judge Thomas Pokorny in the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentenced Vigorito to 30 days of suspended jail time, $3,000 in fines, and 100 hours of community service as part of a one-year term of probation.

The case was handled by the Ohio Attorney General’s Environmental Enforcement Section following a referral from the Ohio EPA. Attorneys with the Environmental Enforcement Section were appointed as special prosecutors by the Mahoning County Prosecutor.

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Sunbury News Staff

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