Monday, October 25, 2010

Racketeering Charges Filed Against OmniSource

Well, it's about time. WRTV reports a grand jury investigating whether scrap metal giant OmniSource knowingly purchased stolen metal products while employing dozens of IMPD off-duty cops, some of whom were targeting competitors of OmniSource with undercover sting operations, has returned racketeering charges against the company:

An ongoing battle between Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi and scrap dealer Omnisource flared up again Monday with the filing of eight racketeering charges against the company.

A grand jury returned an indictment against Omnisource, including three counts of corrupt business influence and five counts of attempted receipt of stolen property.

The indictment alleges the activities took place between June 2007 and May 2009 and involved various metals that were in high demand at the time, including catalytic converters and copper wiring.

"After hearing evidentiary proceedings, the grand jury acted as an independent and thoughtful body of citizen peers and made the decision to render these charges," Brizzi said.

Last week, Omnisource asked a judge to force Brizzi to return more than $277,000 it says was seized as part of a trumped-up investigation.

OmniSource, a Fort Wayne-based subsidiary of Steel Dynamics, claimed in its lawsuit that the probe of its practices was a sham aimed at raising the prosecutor's political profile.

"After almost 20 months it has become clear that this action by the prosecutor has never really been about a legitimate concern about metal theft in Marion County or about a desire for accuracy or justice," OmniSource President Mark Millett said in a news release.

A grand jury began reviewing evidence related to OmniSource in June, more than two years after police raided several scrap yards.

OmniSource has 10 Indiana locations. It also operates in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

The lawsuit, which accuses Brizzi and Garrison of illegal and unethical conduct, is the latest in a series of reports scrutinizing Brizzi's dealings as prosecutor.

Brizzi, a Republican, has announced he won't seek a third term.
Today's indictment against OmniSource may explain why Republican prosecutor candidate Mark Massa recently returned a large donation from Larry Mackey, the white collar criminal defense attorney at Barnes & Thornburg who is representing OmniSource. Earlier in the investigation, Mackey attempted to get a top investigator with IMPD fired or demoted in a letter he wrote to Brizzi and then-IMPD Chief Mike Spears complaining about statements the investigator made to the media about the ongoing investigation. A week ago, OmniSource filed a lawsuit against Brizzi seeking to recover $277,000 in cash seized from the company's scrap yards during the raids that took place two years ago. OmniSource accused Brizzi and Greg Garrison, a private attorney hired by Brizzi's office to handle civil forfeiture actions, of keeping the seized money in violation of the law and breaking the rules of professional conduct.

A copy of the grand jury's indictment can be viewed here.

1 comment:

Had Enough Indy? said...

Well, that IS about time ! Any indications if individual officers were/are being investigated for any role in the alleged activity?