66 Counts: 8 Indicted in Ohio Deer Poaching Case

66 Counts: 8 Indicted in Ohio Deer Poaching Case
Shutterstock image

Eight people in Ohio have been implicated in an alleged deer poaching scheme that profited from the illegal harvesting of hundreds of animals.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O'Malley and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced all eight people face charges in the case, in which they allegedly netted thousands of dollars in profits from nearly 3,000 pounds of deer meat, according to a news release from the prosecutor's office.

Officials called the poaching ring the largest in state history.

(Shutterstock image)


In all, 66 counts  — from fraud to poaching to money laundering — were handed down June 6 by the Cuyahoga County grand jury that could result in up to 55 years in prison and $225,000 in restitution.


The charges came after a two-year investigation by the Ohio DNR.


Among those charged was John Zayac, 70, of Broadview Heights, who prosecutors said was the ringleader of the operation. The prosector's office said Zayac worked with the other suspects "to intentionally falsify information to the state of Ohio regarding the number of deer they bagged as required by law."


Zayac is accused of running a poaching ring "whose purpose was to steal property from the state of Ohio by unlawfully killing white-tailed deer for the purposes of game and greed," the indictment states.

Other defendants are Zayac's wife Rebecca Gregerson, 60; Terrance Ankrom, 52, and his wife Tina, 42, of Kent; John Stofan, 52, of North Royalton; John Frost, 78, of Brecksville; Todd Neczeporenko, 46, of Jefferson; and Craig Steed, 38, of Newton Falls.

"The Ohio Department of Natural Resources should be commended for their diligence," Prosecutor O'Malley said in the news release. "This investigation took time and patience to show that these individuals were illegally and egregiously stealing natural resources from our great state."

According to the news release:

The investigation showed that Zayac organized "deer drives" and allowed the co-defendants to bring the poached deer to his property to be skinned and dressed for processing. Zayac made the arrangements with the processors and decided the form in which the meat would be processed. The large quantities of meat were produced without the proper tags, rendering it unlawful to sell.

The defendants would kill more than the allotted one buck per license, which is called "overbagging." To produce more meat, they would kill multiple bucks each season and report them as does. Zayac and his wife Rebecca Gregerson, falsified online records regarding the number of deer they bagged.

Also, the Ankroms allegedly overbagged deer and falsified their hunting activities, as well as those of family members, including son-in-law Steed.

The same activity was accused of Stofan, who allegedly used Frost's deer tags to kill more animals than legally allowed and then falsely reported his kills. Authorities said Stofan would attract deer with feed at night near motion-activated lights so he could shoot them easily, also against Ohio law.

The indictment charges Neczeporenko, the owner of Smokin' T's in Ashtabula, purchased the deer meat for processing despite it not having the appropriate tags.

The illegal activity occurred sometime between Oc. 1, 2013 and March 31, 2016, according to the indictment.

List of charges

  • Engaging In A Pattern Of Corrupt Activity (all eight defendants)
  • Attempted Engaging In A Pattern Of Corrupt Activity (all eight defendants)
  • Grand Theft (Zayac, Stofan)
  • Tampering with Records (Zayac, 6 counts; Terrance Ankrom, 6 counts; Gregerson, 2 counts; Tina Ankrom, 2 counts; Steed, 2 counts; Frost, 1 count; Stofan, 1 count )
  • Telecommunications Fraud (Zayac, 6 counts; Terrance Ankrom, 6 counts; Gregerson, 2 counts; Tina Ankrom, 2 counts; Steed, 2 counts; Frost, 1 count; Stofan, 1 count)
  • Theft (Terrance Ankrom)
  • Identity Theft (Terrance Ankrom)
  • Cultivation of Marijuana (Stofan)
  • Possessing Criminal Tools (Zayac, Terrance Ankrom, Tina Ankrom)
  • Receiving Stolen Property (Neczeporenko, 9 counts)
  • Money Laundering (Neczeporenko, Zayac, 9 counts each)
  • Unlawful Ownership of Wild Animals (Zayac, 7 counts; Terrance Ankrom, 5 counts; Stofan)

Report: 8 Charged in Cleveland-Area Deer Poaching Ring

https://youtu.be/MDPLzxoH01A

Via cleveland.com YouTube

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

After making the switch to Berkley products heading into the inaugural BPT season, Edwin Evers tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead why Berkley baits played such a key role in his recent angling success.

Mustad

Mustad's New Tungsten Weights

Long known as one of the world's premiere hook makers, Mustad's Reid McKinstry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that the company is now one of the leaders in making tungsten terminal tackle products for anglers.

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

Major League Fishing pros talk about the first lure they choose when targeting spawning bass.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options. Catfish

12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the biggest pike come from Europe. Records

Top 10 Biggest Pike World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - August 19, 2015

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the...

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers. Striper & Hybrid

3 Deadly Bait Rigs For Stripers

J.B. Kasper

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers.

See More Trending Articles

More Whitetail

Could a new testing protocol lead to the repeal of bans on urine-based scents for deer hunting? Conservation & Politics

Perspective: Urine-Based Scent Use for Deer Hunting

Adam Heggenstaller - December 19, 2019

Could a new testing protocol lead to the repeal of bans on urine-based scents for deer hunting?

A shot commits you to finding the animal. Your success depends on how you read the hit and the track. Whitetail

Aim True, Track Smart: Harvest Recovery

Wayne van Zwoll - December 26, 2019

A shot commits you to finding the animal. Your success depends on how you read the hit and the...

Here's a look at recent cases conservation officers faced in the field all across the nation. Conservation & Politics

Game Warden Stories: Antler Poachers, Naked Wanted Man, Secret-Note Tip

Game & Fish Staff - June 26, 2020

Here's a look at recent cases conservation officers faced in the field all across the nation.

Most major deer-urine scent companies are adopting the technology. Whitetail

Commercial CWD Test for Deer Scents Available, in Wide Use

Game & Fish Digital Staff - February 20, 2020

Most major deer-urine scent companies are adopting the technology.

See More Whitetail

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now