The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department likely will have to return more than $273,000 in cash seized as part of a racketeering investigation after the Marion County Prosecutor's Office missed a civil forfeiture deadline.The prosecutor's office's attempt to lay blame at Garrison's doorstep isn't playing with me. A source close to the investigation informed me at the time that Garrison was ready to go gangbusters against OmniSource but was ordered to stand down by the prosecutor's office after Mackey started representing the company and tried getting the lead investigator in the case fired or demoted for speaking too candidly to the media. Schouten's report notes the letter Mackey sent to Capt. Boomershine's superiors at the time:
Law enforcement officers from IMPD, the FBI, Indiana State Police and other agencies in February 2009 raided six Indianapolis scrap yards operated by metal recycling powerhouse OmniSource, collecting evidence and seizing cash and property.
The raids were the culmination of a year-long undercover investigation into the company's purchase of stolen ladders, boats, gutters, wiring and other items as scrap metal prices boomed.
Law enforcement officers turned the case over to the Prosecutor's Office Grand Jury division, which continues to investigate. And the locally based Garrison Law Firm, which Prosecutor Carl Brizzi hired several years ago to handle select forfeiture cases in exchange for 30 percent of the take, began working on a case under federal racketeering statutes.
But no one—not Garrison nor anyone at the Marion County Prosecutor's Office—filed the paperwork necessary to keep the seized cash within 180 days, as required under state law. Each party blames the other for the oversight.
Law enforcement sources said the case never was referred to the internal Prosecutor's Office forfeiture unit, and that Garrison took responsibility from the start. A series of e-mails among Prosecutor's Office officials, obtained by IBJ, say the civilian employees who run IMPD's forfeiture division were told Garrison was handling the case and were never notified of a change.
A spokesman for the IMPD referred all questions to the Prosecutor's Office. Police haven't discussed the case publicly since IMPD Maj. Chris Boomershine told industry newspaper Platts Steel Markets Daily in February 2009 that OmniSource kept documents on how to avoid antitrust violations, hired off-duty IMPD officers to target competitors and bought cars altered to appear stolen from undercover police officers.Schouten's quote from me pretty much sums up what I think about the handling of this case.
Mackey blasted Boomershine's disclosures in a three-page letter to top officials at IMPD and the Prosecutor's Office in March 2009.
"Divulging confidential information in and of itself was wildly inappropriate," Mackey wrote. "Divulging it to Platts Steel Markets Daily constituted a purposeful effort on the Major's part to publicly damage OmniSource and its publicly traded parent."
The fact no action has been taken against OmniSource 14 months after the raid is no surprise to Republican blogger Gary Welsh. He predicted in May 2009 on his Advance Indiana blog that the case would go nowhere under Brizzi.
“These cases drag on and on and when nobody’s looking, they quietly announce there are no charges and is no evidence of a crime,” Welsh said.