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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

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County Prosecutor's office on pace to exceed last year's cases

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — County Prosecutor Chip McConville said that as of the end of July, the county prosecutor's office is on pace to handle 286 cases by the end of the year.

“That's nine or 10 more than last year,” he told a gathering of elected county officials on Thursday. “We have a lot of cases waiting in our rack to go to grand jury,” but there is a 150-day turnaround at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation for testing. McConville said that the Ohio Attorney General's office has “opened the tap” for funding private companies to complete the testing to catch up on the backlog.

Treasurer Shelly Coon said the county collected more than $27.731 million in property taxes, about $1 million more than last year. She noted that delinquencies are down and that her office is in the process of starting foreclosures. She said some property owners in Apple Valley have indicated interest in buying adjacent lots once the lots have gone through the foreclosure process.

Common Pleas Judge Richard Wetzel said renovation is progressing on the “probation house” at 118 E. High St. Work includes a new roof and floor. When renovations are complete, which Wetzel anticipates will be this fall, the Adult Parole Authority will relocate from 117 E. High St. and probation officers will relocate from the county courthouse. “It's really going to be a tremendous addition to probation services,” he said.

Auditor Jonette Curry said the county's unencumbered balance as of July is slightly over $5.042 million. That compares to $5.187 million in July 2016. She said that for the third year, the county has received the state's Auditor of State Award with Distinction.

County prosecutor's office on pace to exceed last year's cases
 
MOUNT VERNON — County Prosecutor Chip McConville said that as of the end of July, the county prosecutor's office is on pace to handle 286 cases by the end of the year.
 
That's nine or 10 more than last year,” he told a gathering of elected county officials on Thursday. “We have a lot of cases waiting in our rack to go to grand jury,” but there is a 150-day turnaround at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation for testing. McConville said that the Ohio Attorney General's office has “opened the tap” for funding private companies to complete the testing to catch up on the backlog.
 
Treasurer Shelly Coon said the county collected more than $27.731 million in property taxes, about $1 million more than last year. She noted that delinquencies are down and that her office is in the process of starting foreclosures. She said some property owners in Apple Valley have indicated interest in buying adjacent lots once the lots have gone through the foreclosure process.
 
Common Pleas Judge Richard Wetzel said renovation is progressing on the “probation house” at 118 E. High St. Work includes a new roof and floor. When renovations are complete, which Wetzel anticipates will be this fall, the Adult Parole Authority will relocate from 117 E. High St. and probation officers will relocate from the county courthouse. “It's really going to be a tremendous addition to probation services,” he said.
 
Auditor Jonette Curry said the county's unencumbered balance as of July is slightly over $5.042 million. That compares to $5.187 million in July 2016. She said that for the third year, the county has received the state's Auditor of State Award with Distinction.

Jury finds Lynds guilty of weapons charge

MOUNT VERNON – Shad W. Lynds, 45, of Mount Vernon, was found guilty by a Knox County jury Wednesday on the charge of Having Weapons Under Disability, a third-degree felony. The jury heard evidence on Tuesday and deliberated for over two hours, then returned to Common Pleas Court to deliver a verdict after about two additional hours of deliberation.

The offense involves having a firearm after being previously convicted of a felony drug offense or offense of violence. In this case, Mr. Lynds had a 2012 conviction for domestic violence.

The State of Ohio, represented by Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys David Merrell and Christine Williams, presented several witnesses to a disturbance on August 13, 2016, when Mr. Lynds was accused of pointing a loaded handgun at his girlfriend. The case included eyewitness testimony from an 11-year old girl who identified Mr. Lynds as having the weapon. The handgun, a Hi-Point .380 pistol, was also entered into evidence.

Mr. Lynds was represented by Attorney Kristin Burkett, who presented the testimony of Lynds’ girlfriend, Jacqueline Price. While on the stand, Price contradicted her prior accusations and said the firearm belonged to her.

The case was investigated by Mount Vernon Police Detective David McElroy, who was assisted by Det. Cpl. James DeChant and Ptl. Qade Lewis.

Judge Richard Wetzel ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set a sentencing date of September 28 for Lynds. He faces a prison term of nine to thirty-six months and a fine of up to $10,000.

Around Ohio: Suspect wanted for Grand Theft, Telecommunications Fraud

 CLEVELAND - State authorities joined the Cleveland Division of Police Monday to seek the public’s help in locating Zienup Sbeih-Maddox, 23, of Cleveland, who is wanted for multiple counts of grand theft and telecommunications fraud.

In the spring of 2017, victims began contacting the Cleveland Division of Police Financial Crimes Unit reporting that they had been scammed by the same woman. Sbeih-Maddox is accused of creating a Facebook page which she allegedly used to entice potential buyers with discounted baby and toddler items. According to investigators, Sbeih-Maddox mainly targeted new mothers and investigators believe she has scammed over 150 victims with a total loss of approximately $200,000.

Felony warrants for grand theft and telecommunications fraud have been issued for Zienup Sbeih-Maddox.

Fraud suspect

Zienup Sbeih-Maddox - photo courtesy Ohio Attorney General's office

Agents with the Ohio Attorney General's Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) are assisting in the ongoing investigation. Both agencies continue to investigate cases of interstate fraudulent activity as they are filed, and victims have been located as far away as Hawaii.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Zienup Sbeih-Maddox is asked to contact Cleveland Police at 216-621-1234. Anonymous information can be given to Crime Stoppers by calling 216-252-7463 or via text message: text TIP657 plus your message to Crimes (274637). Those with information can also call the BCI tip line at 855-BCI-OHIO (855-224-6446).

 

Around Ohio: ECOT funding cut following auditor's request

COLUMBUS – Following a plea from Auditor of State Dave Yost to place a portion of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow’s (ECOT) funding in escrow, the Ohio Department of Education yesterday reduced by $12.4 million the amount of student funding it will send to the virtual school.

In response to Yost’s July 20 letter, Superintendent Paolo DeMaria said ECOT’s funding will be reduced by 12 percent beginning with its August payment, scheduled for Aug. 13. Yost asked DeMaria to withhold “a significant portion” of ECOT’s funding after the school submitted a funding request for almost the same number of students for the 2017-18 school year as it did last year – despite telling the Ohio Supreme Court on July 6 that it had suffered “unprecedented enrollment losses.”

“This decision by Superintendent DeMaria and the Department is an excellent response to what appears to be an inflated request for student funding,” Auditor Yost said. “It’s clear the Superintendent shares my concern that any overfunding might be lost if ECOT closes – a prospect that was raised when ECOT’s executives said the school was in a ‘death spiral.’ I applaud this move to protect tax dollars.”

ECOT was being funded at the rate of $103.6 million for claimed enrollment of 14,200 for the 2017-18 school year. A 12 percent reduction in funding totals about $12.4 million. The Ohio Department of Education determined ECOT could document funding for 6,800 of the 15,000 students it claimed for the 2015 school year. ECOT’s full-time equivalency (FTE) review for the 2016 school year has not been released.

ODE has begun clawing back about $60 million in funding that ECOT was paid for students who could not be substantiated based on available participation records. Auditor Yost’s July 20 letter to DeMaria expressed concern that the state was overpaying ECOT for the upcoming school year, effectively loaning the school money that was being paid back to the Department of Education.

“While I recognize your standard practice is to fund charter schools in advance of the school year commencing, facts unique to ECOT’s situation warrant a different approach at this time,” Yost wrote in his letter to DeMaria. “It defies logic that there would not have been some out-migration from ECOT to traditional schools or other charters.”

Grand Jury indicts Chase Sherman on drug trafficking charges

 

MOUNT VERNON - A resident of Plaza Drive who was arrested and handcuffed at his apartment on July 17th following the issuance of a search warrant and forced entry by the Emergency Services Unit, has now been indicted by the Knox County Grand jury. Chase Sherman, 33, is charged with 2 counts of Aggravated Trafficking in Drugs and violating parole.

Others indicted last week by the Grand Jury:
Megan M. Miller - Possession of Heroin, Felony 3rd Degree
Michael A Puluso - Failure to Provide change of address, Felony 3rd Degree
Christopher Jobin - Aggravated Burglary, Felony 1st Degree; Assault, Misdemeanor 1st Degree
Michael Hinkens, II - Aggravated Possession of Drug Abuse Instruments, Felony 5th Degree; Possession of Drug Abuse Instruments, Misdemeanor 2nd Degree
Jerime T. Graham-Woods - Failure to Provide change of address, Felony 3rd Degree

 

 

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