4 men charged with conspiracy, wire fraud

By Ashley Luthern



Four men from the Mahoning Valley were named in a federal indictment Thursday, accused of staging a car accident at a Boardman business to collect insurance money.

James J. Landis, Thomas V. Franco, Paul “Jeff” Amon and Joseph P. Amon were named in the indictment. Landis, owner of Mum’s the Word Florist in Boardman, is accused of conspiring with the Amon brothers, owners of M and J Properties Group Inc., a Canfield construction business.

The indictment alleges that Landis told Joseph Amon about financial difficulties at the florist shop. About a week later, Paul Amon returned with Franco to Landis’ shop, and the three agreed that Franco would drive a truck into the shop, pretending it was an accident, according to the indictment.

Franco drove the vehicle into the florist shop Jan. 27, 2010. Landis would later receive $73,423.57 from Travelers Insurance, and Franco would receive $11,925.27 for the damaged vehicle from Grange Insurance. Westford Insurance sustained a loss of $9,056.33 from claims related to the crash, records state.

Landis, Paul Amon, Joseph Amon and Franco are charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud.

Paul Amon, who was a special deputy for the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department in the early 1980s, has been in federal court before. In 1987, he was sentenced to four years in prison for conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

Both Paul and Joseph Amon were among the suspects considered by Liberty police in the Jan. 1993 murder of their parents, Peter J. and Tressa Amon. No evidence was ever found to support that claim, and the brothers offered a $10,000 reward for information in case, but the murders remain unsolved, according to Vindicator files.

Landis was charged with possessing a firearm while being prohibited from doing so under a protection order in August 2010 as part of the Violence, Gun Reduction Interdiction Program (V-GRIP). He had been the subject of a protection order through the common pleas court prohibiting him from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner, according to Vindicator and court records.

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