U.S. Attorney’s Office
April 20, 2012
Middle District of Florida
Jacksonville Juries Convict Two Gang Members of Racketeering
JACKSONVILLE, FL—United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announces that, following a three-week trial, separate juries found Maynard Kenneth Godwin (31, Jacksonville) and Eric Steven Ellis (26, Jacksonville) guilty of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, otherwise known as RICO, and conspiring to commit that crime. Godwin faces up to 40 years in prison for his offenses. Ellis faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.
According to evidence presented at trial, Godwin headed a criminal enterprise known as the Guardians, which had been responsible for multiple armed home invasion robberies, armed bank robberies, extortion, distribution of stolen merchandise, and the distribution of cocaine, oxycodone, and anabolic steroids. Ellis was an associate of the Guardians. Among his criminal acts was his commission, along with two others, of an armed home invasion in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, during which more than $750,000 in money, jewelry, and guns was stolen from the victim at gunpoint. Four others charged in this case previously pled guilty.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jay Taylor and Patty Barksdale.