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If convicted, 2 Valley lawyers, store owner face long sentences in extortion case



Published: Sat, March 1, 2014 @ 12:03 a.m.

By Peter H. Milliken

milliken@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Two Youngstown lawyers and a convenience-store owner indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of violating the Hobbs Act and obstructing justice potentially face spending the rest of their lives in a federal prison if they are convicted.

Atty. Scott Cochran, 43, of Austintown, and Atty. Neal Atway, 47, of Youngstown, are charged with two counts each of violating the Hobbs Act; two counts each of conspiracy to tamper with a witness, victim or informant; and one count each of making false statements to law enforcement.

The store owner, Mohd Rawhneh, 54, of Boardman, is charged with two counts of violating the Hobbs Act and one count of conspiracy to tamper with a witness, victim or informant.

The Hobbs Act counts allege extortion by the wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence or fear.

The maximum penalty is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Penalties for conspiracy to tamper with a witness, victim or informant also carries a 20-year prison term. The penalty for making false statements to law enforcement carries a prison term of five to eight years.

Cochran is a former president of the Mahoning County Bar Association. He and Atway are partners in the Atway & Cochran law firm in downtown Youngstown.

On Wednesday, Rawh-neh and Cochran each posted appearance bonds of $25,000, and Atway posted an appearance bond of $250,000, the day after they were indicted. Both lawyers and Rawhneh have surrendered their passports to the court.

Atway is represented by Atty. Dominic J. Coletta and Roger M. Synenberg of Cleveland and Atty. Samuel G. Amendolara of Boardman.

Cochran is represented by Attys. John B. Juhasz Jr. and Lynn A. Maro of Boardman.

Rawhneh is represented by Atty. Darin Thompson of the U.S. Public Defender’s Office in Cleveland and Atty. Frank J. Cimino of Ravenna.

The case is being prosecuted by Antoinette T. Bacon, an assistant U.S. attorney.

U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Gaughan in Cleveland is presiding over the case, in which no new court dates have been set.

The lawyers are charged with trying to extort money for Rawhneh from another convenience-store owner, Charles B. Muth, 42, of Canfield, a defendant in criminal cases, who was being represented by Atway and Cochran.

In a federal case, Muth got five months in prison for growing 100 marijuana plants in his residence.

In a state case, Muth was sentenced to 18 months in prison in a Dec. 28, 2011, shooting at the Boardman home of Rawhneh’s ex-wife, in which nobody was injured. At the time, Muth was having a business dispute with Rawhneh.

The indictment says Rawhneh and Atway led Muth to believe that, unless Rawhneh received money and property from Muth and Muth’s stores. Rawhneh would appear at Muth’s sentencings and communicate facts to the courts that could result in Muth’s receiving harsher sentences, according to the federal indictment.

Atway and Cochran are charged with lying to FBI agents investigating the case.


Comments

1INTEL(62 comments)posted 6 months ago

Stay tuned to see the deal cut on this one.... a few dollars and it will be swept under the carpet... just like everything else in Mahoning County.... it will be a plea deal and some one won't show up in court.. .and it will be dismissed... typical....

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2redvert(2059 comments)posted 6 months ago

You got to admit, ytown news about the local sleezebags is always entertaining and never seems to change. But the residents bring it on themselves because they are the ones who vote for the sleezebags in the local government and patronize the other scumbags. Has worked great for the last 50-60 years hasn't it?

I may be in Florida for the winter but I never miss a day of reading about the happenings in ytown.

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3fcb(320 comments)posted 6 months ago

Come on people!! does any one think that this two crooks will be convicted? this is the Mahoning Valley! It will be swept away and forgotten just like the judge's son from Canfield who went around beating up girls.

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4legaleagle(27 comments)posted 6 months ago

I do not think that this will be swept underneath the carpet as most of you are blogging. Federal Court especially in Cleveland is Tired of the Shananigans of Good Olde Y-town Politics. I'm not convinced that they will spend the rest of their lives in Prison, but they will get convicted. Now as for the blogger called "FCB', Judge Dellicks position as a judge, has nothing to do with how her son acts. Please quit disparaging her and her home and career. Clearly her son does have some mental issues and I pray that he can get the help before he clearly hurts himself or someone else. I hope you all understand that "Mental Illness" is a serious thing. Please be sensible when blogging.

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5INTEL(62 comments)posted 6 months ago

LEGAL EAGLE- IF Dellicks son has mental issues ..WHY is the moron still driving cars... or better yet.. why does him mother (THE JUDGE) in her best interest... still let him drive... He is a moron... and she promotes it by protecting him over and over again... Let me ask this.. WHY would you stick out your neck to speak in her behalf.. or are you her....LOL

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