Commercial Trash Hauler Convicted in Bribe Scheme and Baltimore City Landfill Employee Pleads Guilty to Selling Scrap Metal
Baltimore, Maryland – Jarrod Terrell Hazelton, age 32, of Parkville, Maryland, a former employee at the Quarantine Road Landfill (Landfill), pleaded guilty today to conspiracy, and wire fraud, in connection with a scheme to unlawfully sell scrap metal from the Landfill and Northwest Transfer Station (NWTS), while falsely representing to the Baltimore Department of Public Works (DPW) that he was performing his job.
On November 20, 2015, John Howard Brady, age 74, of Glen Burnie, was convicted after a five day trial of conspiracy and two counts of bribery in connection with a scheme in which Brady and other commercial haulers paid Department of Public Works (DPW) employees cash in return for allowing the haulers to deposit trash at the Quarantine Road Landfill (Landfill) without paying the required disposal fees.
The convictions were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Robert H. Pearre, Jr., Inspector General, City of Baltimore Office of Inspector General; Special Agent in Charge Thomas Jankowski of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; and Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.
The DPW’s Bureau of Solid Waste is responsible for managing Baltimore City’s waste management services, including overseeing citizen drop-off centers, such as the NWTS and the Landfill. Baltimore City residents can deposit small amounts of trash and/or recyclables in dumpsters located near the main entrance of the Landfill, free of charge. Individuals or companies commercially hauling trash that have registered their vehicles with the City must obtain Landfill permits. Commercial haulers of trash must also pay a waste disposal fee of $67.50 per ton of trash deposited at the Landfill. DPW employees assigned as scale house operators weigh each truck as it enters the Landfill, which is recorded on a computerized point-of-sale system. The scale house operators reweigh each truck as it leaves the Landfill. The net weight of the deposited trash and the required disposal fee is then calculated and printed on a receipt that is handed to the driver.
According to the evidence presented at Brady’s trial, Brady was a commercial trash hauler who owned and operated Brady’s Roll Off Service. From July 2014, through May 1, 2015, Brady agreed to pay bribes to Tamara Washington, one of the DPW scale house operators, in exchange for she and the other scale house operators, not charging Brady a disposal fee for using the Landfill. For example, on March 30, 2015, Brady paid a $2,000 cash bribe to Tamara Washington. The bribes paid to the scale house operators saved Brady thousands of fees each month. Brady either paid the operator through the outbound window at the scale house, or met the operators at an off-site location where he would pay a week’s worth of bribes or more. Evidence at trial established that Brady’s company used the landfill dozens of times a year since 2007, resulting in a loss of approximately $560,000 in disposal fees for the City of Baltimore.
In addition to the revenue generated by the collection of disposal fees, Baltimore City’s waste management system generates revenue by collecting and selling recyclable scrap metal dumped at the City’s trash collection facilities, including household appliances, steel cables, copper wires, car parts, computer parts, door and window frames. The City awards contracts to private salvage companies to purchase and remove such scrap metal from its trash collection facilities. DPW employees at the Landfill and other trash collection sites are required to segregate the recyclable scrap metal from general refuse and place it in separate bins provided by the salvage companies. The companies regularly pick up the scrap metal, weigh it and send a tonnage report to the City. Based on predetermined prices per ton, the City sends an invoice to the companies requesting payment for the value of the scrap metal the companies removed during a given period of time. Salvaging by employees, also referred to as “junking,” was strictly prohibited and employees were put on notice that any salvaging of metal constituted theft of City property.
From 2005 until May 2015, Hazelton, who was employed by DPW at the Landfill, and other DPW employees, including Michael Bennett and supervisor William Nemec, unlawfully collected and sold scrap metal for personal gain during work hours, while representing to DPW that they were doing the jobs for which they were being paid. Hazelton was a leader in the scheme and coordinated the daily collection of scrap metal at the Landfill. Hazelton and other employees used part of the proceeds of the sale of the stolen scrap metal to pay other DPW employees for their help locating, setting aside, collecting and loading the scrap metal onto their trucks. Hazelton, Bennett, and other employees at the Landfill, used their personal cell phones to communicate when and where recyclable scrap metals were being dumped at the Landfill, and to coordinate their arrival at the private salvage yard. Hazelton, Bennett, and others transported the scrap metal, using their personal pick-up trucks, to a private salvage company, frequently making multiple trips during a single, eight-hour work shift. The sale of the stolen scrap metal for their personal benefit resulted in a loss of revenue to the City of at least $400,000.
In order to conceal the junking scheme, Hazelton and Bennett paid cash to Nemec and other supervisors to not report them for collecting and transporting the stolen scrap metal, and to authorize and submit false time and attendance records. Hazelton prepared and submitted false time and attendance records, which claimed he had been working, when he was instead illegally collecting and selling the scrap metal, resulting in wages being paid to Hazelton for work he did not perform.
Hazelton and Brady each face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the conspiracy. Hazelton also faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for wire fraud, and Brady faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for each of two counts of bribery. U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis has scheduled sentencing for Brady on February 16, 2016 at 10:00 a.m., and for Hazelton on February 17, 2016 at 11:00 a.m.
Former Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) employees Tamara Oliver Washington and William Charles Nemec, Sr., both age 55; and Michael Theodore Bennett, age 47, all of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the schemes and are awaiting sentencing. Five other commercial trash haulers have also pleaded guilty.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI, IRS-CI, Baltimore Office of Inspector General, and Maryland State Police for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Martin J. Clarke and Leo J. Wise, who are prosecuting the case.