Posted on 2/1/2018

Defendant: Jonathan Charles Knapp, Justin Lee Goins, Frank M. Abrams II and Gary Ronald Smith, Jr.

Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said, “A man and three of his associates committed a variety of criminal activities including identity fraud, theft, stealing vehicles and trailers, and breaking and entering into storage units throughout our county, leaving behind dozens of victims.  Most of the victims are residents of Franklin County.”  Prosecutor Ron O’Brien announced today that the Franklin County Grand Jury has returned a RICO indictment against ring-leader Jonathan Charles Knapp, age 35, and his associate Justin Lee Goins, age 26.  The thirty-three count indictment includes charges of Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, Identity Fraud, Identity Fraud Against a Person in a Protected Class, Breaking and Entering, Theft, and Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle.  Also included in the indictment are Frank M. Abrams II, age 47 and Gary Ronald Smith, Jr., age 39 (for one count each of fraud and theft).  The indictment alleges that between November 2, 2015 and July 6, 2016, Knapp and Goins would commit identity fraud by obtaining credit cards and lines of credit issued in the names of other individuals which the criminal enterprise would then use to commit a variety of other crimes including Theft.  They victimized Simply Self-Storage and Westerville Mini Storage by renting storage units, and once inside the complex, they would break into other units, steal the contents inside, and re-sell the items.  In one storage unit, they accessed thousands of former patient files belonging to a local dentist office.  Another storage unit contained hundreds of client files belonging to a company that prepared taxes and restored credit for customers.  The criminal enterprise used the information in these files to fraudulently obtain credit cards and lines of credit.  The criminal enterprise made dozens of purchases with these credit cards and lines of credit from local retailers and service companies.  The indictment also alleges that a vehicle was stolen from a local Ford dealership by one of the defendants who used a fraudulently obtained driver’s license in another person’s name.  “If you believe you have been victimized by this criminal enterprise, you should contact your local law enforcement agency immediately,” O’Brien stated.  O’Brien commended the Police Departments from Grove City, Whitehall, Columbus, Gahanna, Westerville, Worthington, Grandview Heights, Genoa Township, and Blendon Township, as well as the Union County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Attorney General’s Office Computer Forensics, and the US Postal Investigator for their thorough investigation into this case.