LONG TERM SCRAP YARD INVESTIGATION RESULTS IN CONVICTIONS FOR SIX SCRAP YARDS FOR ACCEPTING PROHIBITED OR STOLEN PROPERTY
Posted on 5/8/2017
Defendant: Masser Metals, Sims Brothers Recycling, G-Cor Automotive, New World Recycling, PSC Metals and A to Z Recycling
Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said, “Six scrap yards have been convicted for violating scrap purchasing laws.” The Columbus Division of Police, Columbus Department of Public Safety, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office are proud to announce the resolution involving six scrap yards inspected in the first ever under-cover compliance investigation in the nation focused specifically on all scrap yards within a single large municipality. In February of 2016, the Franklin County Grand Jury returned indictments against six scrap yards after hearing the details of this extensive investigation. The organizations indicted were Masser Metals, Sims Brothers Recycling, G-Cor Automotive, New World Recycling, PSC Metals and A to Z Recycling.
The Columbus Division of Police conducted Operation 193, which a city-wide undercover investigation which was comprised in part of selling specialized communications and utility wire, as well as railroad material to area scrap yards. The operation was to test compliance with Senate Bill 193, which was passed into law as Revised Code 4737 in 2012. Several scrap yards purchased some of this material, which was some of the conduct that led to these indictments. The material was mostly Special Purchase Articles, which include so-called “burnt wire,” railroad materials, AT&T communication wire and copper and aluminum wire from American Electric Power (AEP). The theft of railroad materials and communication lines are not only crimes but can also create significant public safety hazards.
The City of Columbus enacted first of its kind legislation which for the first time required electronic reporting of items purchased by scrap yards, prohibited the purchase of certain items, and helped to create the “Do Not Buy From Convicted Thieves” list. This legislation was subsequently adopted by the State of Ohio and the statewide “Do Not Buy From Convicted Thieves” registry lists the names of nearly 300,000 individuals. As part of this investigation, all six scrap yards committed a number of violations of the scrap statute, including purchasing prohibited material from individuals whose were names were listed on the “Do Not Buy From Convicted Thieves List”. G-Cor Automotive, New World Recycling, Masser Metals and Sims Brothers Recycling all entered guilty pleas to counts of Violation of Metal Scrapping Laws in 2016. Penalties ranged from thousands of dollars of fines to agreed suspension of retail purchases. PSC Metals was convicted at trial of violating scrap metal laws and fined $10,000.
Today, A to Z Recycling entered a guilty plea to Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity (F2), three counts of Violating Scrap Metal Laws (F5) and one count Possessing Criminal Tools (F5.) As part of the plea, A to Z agreed to a $50,000 fine, which imposed by the Court and was the maximum.
O’Brien commended both the Columbus Police, Columbus Department of Public Safety and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office for their investigation in this undercover sting.