HOTLINE: Three Rivers scrapyards owner charged over nickel scheme

Charles Menzock, owner of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Three Rivers Scrap Metal Inc, has been accused of conspiring to conceal the illegal source of nickel by evading reporting requirements on cash transactions.

Documents filed in the US District Court in Maryland allege that Menzock paid George Warhola, owner of Pittsburgh-based AJ Warhola Scrap Metal, in cash for the stolen nickel after securing a buyer, and created fictitious records to disguise Warhola – identified in the court documents as "GW" – as the seller.

Menzock could not be reached for comment.

Warhola was last year placed on probation for one year and ordered to pay $148,297 in restitution after pleading guilty to obstructing justice and lying to federal agents during a grand jury investigation of the five-year nickel theft scheme.

Gregg Lee Purbaugh and Kenneth Trainum, who operated Bear Creek Warehouse Co in Baltimore, with the prime customer being an international mining company that shipped containers of nickel to the Port of Baltimore, were recently sentenced to 18 months in jail followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1 million restitution for their part in conspiring to ship stolen nickel briquettes and reselling them into the Pittsburgh market.

Between 2006 and 2011, Purbaugh sold Warhola a total of 80,000 lb of nickel – worth about $1 million – for the scrap metal price of $8 per lb, which Warhola allegedly resold to Menzock.

Purbaugh and Trainum were arrested in November 2011 after the scheme was uncovered by Homeland Security investigators.

This article was first published by AMM


This article was first published by AMM

June 02, 2015

10:50 GMT