CHILLICOTHE—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ross County Prosecutor Matthew S. Schmidt announced Friday that a Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for stealing $17,000 from an elderly Ross County man in an internet scam.

Ryan O. Smith, 49, was sentenced in the Ross County Common Pleas Court after being convicted on counts of telecommunications fraud, theft from an elderly person, and money laundering. (His sentence will run concurrently to a sentence he received in Texas for other theft charges.) He also was ordered to pay $17,000 in restitution.

“We are committed to protecting older Ohioans and cracking down on scams,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Thanks to the continued cooperation of Ross County and other agencies across the state, we are holding con artists accountable for their actions.”

“Ross County appreciates our partnership with the Attorney General’s Office, and their willingness to lend resources, personnel and expertise in prosecuting economic crimes against vulnerable members of our community,” said Ross County Prosecutor Schmidt.

In the scam, Smith posted an ad on eBay offering a Caterpillar backhoe for sale. An elderly Ross County man contacted him expressing interest in buying the backhoe, and Smith exchanged multiple calls and emails with him. Eventually, Smith offered the man a lower price if they went outside eBay to complete the sale. The man wired him $17,000, but Smith never delivered the backhoe.

The case was investigated by the Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Unit and the Ross County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by an attorney with the Economic Crimes Unit who was appointed as a special prosecutor for Ross County.

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