Trash hauler pleads guilty to fraud

September 30, 1993|By Staff Report

An executive of a trash hauling company has pleaded guilty to overcharging customers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The plea in U.S. District Court in Baltimore Tuesday was the result of an agreement between federal prosecutors and John Speake III, a former executive of Eastern Waste Industries.

The company bilked such customers as Anne Arundel Medical Center, the Anne Arundel County school system, and large corporations in the Baltimore area, said assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Barrett in a statement of facts. The fraud began in 1987 and lasted four years.

Speake told an Annapolis division employee to charge customers as much as he thought they would pay without complaining, according to the statement. The company was charging some customers more than double the actual landfill dumping fee, according to the plea agreement.

Prosecutors have not yet said how many customers were overcharged. The company has admitted overcharging the Anne Arundel school system by $30,000 and has refunded most of the money.

Speake could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His sentence could be reduced if he cooperates with federal prosecutors and testifies against nine other EWI executives and workers who were indicted last month on fraud and conspiracy charges.

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