Five firms indicted in landfill bribe ring Scheme said to cost the county $5 million

November 05, 1996|By Scott Wilson | Scott Wilson,SUN STAFF

A county grand jury indicted five Maryland companies yesterday on charges that they participated in a bribery ring at the Millersville landfill that prosecutors say has cost Anne Arundel taxpayers $5 million.

The indictments, filed late yesterday afternoon, are part of a widening criminal prosecution involving companies and county employees working at the landfill from January 1992 through June 1995.

Last month, the grand jury indicted owners of two trash-hauling companies and a former landfill scale operator on bribery, theft and conspiracy charges.

Three of the companies named yesterday are owned by Michael A. Gunther and Donald E. Warrener, the trash haulers indicted last month in alleged payoffs to two landfill workers to obtain reduced dumping fees.

Trash haulers are supposed to pay $60 for every ton of trash they dump at the site. The state's attorney's office says the two former scale operators were paid to falsely record lower weights for trash loads, costing the county millions of dollars in revenue.

Each of the five companies was indicted on one count of felony theft, two counts of bribery and two counts of conspiracy. If found guilty, the firms could be fined $13,000 and be made to pay restitution for part of the loss to county taxpayers.

As a result of the charges, the county pulled county contracts worth $218,000 from Gunther's Hanover-based trash company, Greater Baltimore Hauling, and Warrener's two firms, Don's Trash and D & J Hauling Inc. of Sparks.

Allied Refuse and Millersville Roofing and Guttering, both based in Millersville, also were indicted yesterday. The companies had been named in October as unindicted co-conspirators. Neither firm now does business with the county. The owners were not charged.

Prosecutors indict corporations to punish crimes and recover financial losses. A company owner is not named in an indictment if prosecutors believe he or she did not participate in a crime even if the company did.

Jennifer Allison, a former landfill scale operator, was charged last month with bribery, theft and conspiracy. If convicted on the charges, she could be sentenced to more than 50 years in prison.

Deborah Lee, a former scale operator named as a co-conspirator in the October indictment, has not been charged.

Pub Date: 11/05/96

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