BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A multi-million dollar scheme at the Baltimore City landfill. A three year undercover FBI investigation leads to the indictment of nearly a dozen people, including some city public works employees.
Rick Ritter has more on how the feds say they uncovered dirty dealing.
There are two separate indictments — one alleges a group of landfill employees cheated the city out of nearly $6 million. Another indictment accuses some of those same workers of stealing scrap metal from landfills and cashing in on it.
Sky Eye Chopper 13 was there weeks ago — the day federal agents closed Baltimore City’s Quarantine Road landfill to investigate.
On Tuesday, five Department of Public Works employees who worked there and six commercial trash haulers were charged with conspiracy, bribery and theft.
“This case is an example of how just a small group of corrupt government employees can bring significant damage,” said Scott Hinckley, FBI.
The landfill requires commercial vehicles to dump trash at what’s known as the scale house and pay a tipping fee.
Court documents allege over a 14 year period, city employees allowed commercial haulers to regularly deposit trash — but without logging in or paying those required fees — nearly $70 a ton.
Instead, agents say the employees worked out deals to collect cash bribes and provided haulers with fraudulent receipts.
“The employees received bribes of $50 to $100 per visit and they’d split that allegedly among the co-conspirators,” said U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein.
Costing DPW and the city $6 million.
“The times we have right now in Baltimore City, obviously that $6 million could have been better spent in other arenas,” said Hinckley.
A second indictment alleges a group of city employees used their personal trucks to steal scrap metal from the Quarantine Road landfill and the Northwest Transfer Station in Reisterstown — later selling it off for cash.
This — during work hours — totaling close to $1 million.
It’s a case agents say they were tipped off to back in 2012, but knew they needed time to investigate what they assumed was a much larger scheme. Indictments they hope send a message.
Investigators expect more witnesses to come forward and more charges to be filed. They’re not ruling out the possibility that others were involved.
Those charged are facing a max sentence of anywhere from five to 20 years in prison.