COLUMBUS, Ohio— The Ohio Attorney General this week announced a lawsuit against a Columbus charity operator who has been accused of stealing the identities of clients.
The lawsuit accuses Johnny R. Marcum and his organization, Central Ohio Sober Living, of violating Ohio charitable laws.
“Our investigation uncovered numerous problems with this organization,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We’re seeking a court order to dissolve the organization and to prevent its operator from ever running a charity in Ohio.”
Central Ohio Sober Living’s stated purpose was to provide sober support meetings, counseling, and housing, but law enforcement determined that Marcum had used clients’ personal information to open checking accounts and credit cards, which he allegedly used to make fraudulent transactions. In 2016, Marcum was indicted in Franklin County Common Pleas Court on charges of passing bad checks, identity fraud, forgery, and theft.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section investigated the charity’s operations and found little evidence of charitable programming, even though the organization had solicited contributions on GoFundMe and through its own website. Central Ohio Sober Living also failed to properly register as a charity in Ohio or file annual reports as required by law.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit, filed in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, seeks an injunction to bar Marcum from ever incorporating or serving in a fiduciary role for an Ohio charity and an order to dissolve Central Ohio Sober Living.