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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > May 2014 > Last of Circleville ring defendants pleads guilty

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Last of Circleville ring defendants pleads guilty

The final member of a Circleville area criminal ring that used home-repair scams to swindle more than $137,000 from elderly consumers in Fairfield, Franklin, Pickaway, and Ross counties has pleaded guilty to felonies in the case.

Mark Kitchen, who was sentenced to three and a half years in prison, joins co-conspirators Bruce McFarland, Herschel Mumaw, Mark Christman, David Ramey, and Thristian Harding, all of whom previously pleaded guilty. Mumaw and McFarland — who were part of a criminal ring using a similar approach that the Attorney General’s Office prosecuted more than a decade ago — received six- and seven-year prison terms, respectively.
Charges in the case included engaging in a pattern of corrupt activities, theft from an elderly person, and money laundering. The six were ordered to pay the victims restitution totaling $137,096.
In April 2013, the Attorney General’s Office indicted members of the gang for crimes that arose through a variety of door-to-door home repair schemes. In some cases, the defendants promised certain services, accepted payment, and pretended the work was complete. Consumers then found themselves without their money or their repairs. 
In other cases, the defendants demanded additional payments by personal check, claiming previous checks the victims had written had either been lost or destroyed. In reality, the original checks had already been cashed. If victims appeared to be particularly vulnerable, the group repeatedly demanded and collected more money until the victims’ funds ran dry.
Consumers who suspect a scam or unfair business practice should report it to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office by visiting or calling 800-282-0515.