A Marion County, Ind., grand jury has returned an eight-count indictment against OmniSource Corp., accusing the scrap metal firm of racketeering and receiving stolen property. The grand jury returned the indictments Oct. 22. The indictment was filed in Marion Circuit Court Oct. 25.
The scrap metal recycling firm, headquartered in Fort Wayne, Ind., was charged with three counts of corrupt business influence and five counts of attempted receipt of stolen property, according to local news reports.
The indictments follow a raid by Indianapolis police, the FBI, Indiana State Police and other agencies, at six Indianapolis scrap yards operated by OmniSource. The raids followed a year-long undercover investigation by law enforcement.
In a prepared statement following the announced indictment, Mark Millett, president of OmniSource, says the criminal charges against the company, brought by Marion County, Indiana Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, stem from a February 2009 police raid and allegations that a subsidiary was systematically purchasing stolen scrap metal.
“Brizzi's unfounded allegations come on the heels of a lawsuit filed on Oct. 15 against the prosecutor seeking the return of some $277,000 in cash unlawfully retained after the Feb. 23, 2009, raid.
Ben Eisbart, OmniSource vice president and corporate compliance officer, says, "We are not at all surprised by Brizzi's actions. On the eve of the election to select his successor, it appears that Brizzi is merely trying to save face. He mischaracterizes a handful out of more than a half million transactions and then uses those to distort the business practices of an entire company. The fact is he decided long ago to indict this company, regardless of the evidence that such an indictment is not warranted."
Millett adds, "Our justice system has now been turned on its head. Instead of prosecuting the scrap thieves, including dozens of cases we turned over for prosecution, Brizzi has instead turned his sights on the company which tried to catch the thieves.
“OmniSource is the scrap industry leader in anti-theft training and law enforcement cooperation. In fact, we hired more than 50 IMPD police officers, at our own expense, to help detect and deter metal theft. This indictment of OmniSource is not only unfair to the company but an insult to the IMPD police officers who worked diligently, who did their part to stop metal thefts in Marion County and whose reputations have been similarly slandered," Millett says.
"In the coming months," he continues, "we will aggressively defend against these baseless charges to vindicate the reputations of our company and more than 250 Marion County employees. The lawsuit filed last week against Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi lays bare the prosecutor's underlying financial motivation behind this action – namely, to wrongfully seek forfeiture of OmniSource's property – and also challenges the constitutionality of Brizzi's decision to outsource his statutory obligations to a private attorney motivated by the prospect of millions of dollars in contingent legal fees."