Four members of a nine-county theft ring were sentenced to prison terms Monday in Delaware County Common Pleas Court.
Sentenced were Jordan Emmons, 24, of Marion; his brother, Justin Emmons, 26, of Marion; Phillip Burkholder, 83, of Forest, Ohio; and Brittany Chafin, 24, of 74 Griswold St., Delaware.
All appeared in Delaware County Common Pleas Court Monday to be sentenced, each on one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second-degree felony.
Prosecutors have said that the Emmonses — with their mother, Wendy Emmons, 46, a former Marion resident now incarcerated in the Ohio Reformatory for Women — were the ring leaders and would cause acquaintances, like Chafin, to become addicted to heroin and force them to steal to support their habits. The thieves would take the stolen goods to Burkholder, who would sell the items at auction.
Common Pleas Judge Everett Krueger presided over the sentencing hearings.
Wendy Emmons was scheduled to be sentenced Monday but a transportation issue with the Ohio Reformatory resulted in her sentencing being postponed to a later date.
Justin and Jordan Emmons were both sentenced to five years in prison after both men pleaded guilty to engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. The Emmons brothers were facing charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, money laundering and theft. Except for the corrupt-activity charges, the other charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Krueger also sentenced Burkholder to serve four years in prison. Burkholder had been facing three money-laundering charges that were dropped during plea negotiations. As a condition of Burkholder’s and the Emmonses’ plea agreements, they agreed to pay $48,665 in restitution. Burkholder’s attorney, Christopher Soon, said in February that Burkholder would be selling his house to pay his share of the restitution.
Krueger sentenced Chafin to two years in prison but said she could qualify for judicial release to undergo drug treatment if she can spend six months in prison without violating rules. Chafin also must pay restitution of more than $12,000.
Assistant county prosecutor Doug Dumolt told Krueger that Chafin took part in between 28 and 36 crimes and had repeatedly undergone drug treatment procedures but had continued to relapse.
“I take full responsibility for my relapses,” Chafin told Krueger Monday. “I have an addiction and I need help.”
The other thieves in the group — Stevie Henry, 26, Sasha Steele, 24, and Michael Jenkins, 32, all of Marion — were all sentenced earlier to four years of probation after reaching agreements with prosecutors. Henry, Steele and Jenkins had each pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering, a third-degree felony, and two charges of theft, fifth-degree felonies. All three told Krueger they were trying to turn around their lives and stay clean.
Krueger told them they face prison or fines if they violate terms of probation.
A sentencing date has not yet been rescheduled for Wendy Emmons.
Prosecutors allege the ring is responsible for stealing between $100,000 and $250,000 worth of goods from stores in Delaware, Crawford, Seneca, Richland, Marion, Franklin, Morrow, Hancock and Logan counties.
The eight members of the theft ring were indicted on Sept. 18 by a Delaware County grand jury.
The investigation was led by the Organized Crime Investigations Commission division of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in connection with several law enforcement agencies, including the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.