Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Curry Affirms Decision To Prosecute OmniSource

Marion Co. Prosecutor Terry Curry has affirmed his predecessor's decision to prosecute scrap metal giant OmniSource on corrupt business influence and receipt of stolen property charges. OmniSource, which at one time employed nearly 50 off-duty IMPD officers to provide security for its scrap metal yards in Indianapolis, is accused of knowingly purchasing stolen metal products on more than 30 occasions from 2007 to 2009. OmniSource has claimed there is no evidence it knowingly purchased stolen metal products or engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity. The Star's Carrie Ritchie reports on Curry's decision to continue the prosecution of the case, including a civil forfeiture action brought by former Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi against the company:

The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office says an indictment against embattled metal recycling company OmniSource is valid and that criminal charges against the company shouldn’t be dismissed . . .
In a written response filed Friday, prosecutors say that’s simply not the case, and they claim that OmniSource’s motion to dismiss was filed too late.

A hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 4 and a trial has been set for June 13.

OmniSource also is locked in a civil battle with the prosecutor’s office.

The company filed a lawsuit against the prosecutor's office in October, demanding that prosecutors return more than $277,000 seized during the investigation.

Days before he left office Jan. 1, former prosecutor Carl Brizzi filed a forfeiture claim, asking the court to put OmniSource’s five Marion County scrap yards, an office on Bluff Road and a foundry in Hendricks County under the control of a court-appointed receiver.

Brizzi said pursuing the forfeiture claim is necessary to ensure OmniSource will be held financially responsible for its alleged crimes.

OmniSource’s attorney, Larry Mackey, called the claim "nothing but a money grab."
Mayor Greg Ballard's former Public Safety Director Scott Newman defended off-duty police officers' work for OmniSource at the time the company's scrap yards were first raided by law enforcement agencies and insisted there was no evidence any police officer or OmniSource had engaged in any criminal wrongdoing, even though some police officers working off-duty for the company had responsibility for investigating metal theft cases that involved other scrap metal dealers in Indianapolis in competition with their employer. OmniSource is represented by Barnes & Thornburg's Larry Mackey. Newman once was a partner at Barnes & Thornburg after he stepped down as Marion Co. Prosecutor. Mackey had been very close to Brizzi and chaired his re-election committee. Their relationship appeared to sour once Brizzi decided to pursue charges against Mackey's client, OmniSource, and Mackey publicly chided Brizzi's case against his client.

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