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Connecticut waste operator sent to federal prison

Kevin J. O'Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Philip Armetta, 76, of Mi...


Kevin J. O’Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Philip Armetta, 76, of Middletown, Connecticut, was sentenced by Senior United States District Judge Ellen Bree Burns in New Haven to three months of imprisonment, followed by three months of home confinement, for concealing from law enforcement his knowledge that others had conspired to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and for structuring currency transactions to evade reporting requirements. Armetta also was ordered to pay a fine in the amount of $20,000, and to forfeit $29,100.

On April 27, 2007, Armetta pleaded guilty to one count of misprision of a felony. This charge stems from a long-term investigation in the waste-hauling industry in Connecticut and eastern New York. In pleading guilty, Armetta, an owner and operator of Dainty Rubbish in Middletown, admitted that he had knowledge that others had conspired to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and concealed this information from law enforcement.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made previously in court in connection with this matter, carters in Connecticut and New York have engaged in the “property rights system,” whereby they would not service or compete for other carters’ customers. The property rights system, which is predicated on mail and wire fraud, and extortion, essentially destroys free enterprise, allowing the participating carters to artificially inflate their prices and leaving waste removal customers with no other options. In this scheme, which was directed primarily at commercial and municipal customers, participating carters agreed to quote inflated prices to customers controlled by other carters.

According to statements made by the Government during court proceedings, in February 2004 and May 2004, Armetta made statements in conversations that the property rights system existed in Connecticut, acknowledging that individuals “owned” certain customers. Specifically, he said that “everybody ha[s] an understanding: if you had an account, you died with that account. That’s the way people made money.” Armetta was also recorded explaining the unwritten rules of the property rights system, saying “what’s yours is yours and what’s mine is mine.” He expressed his dislike of competing salesman soliciting business in central Connecticut, saying that “the only ones who win are the customers.” He indicated that carting prices in Connecticut were too low, and all of the carters “needed to get them up.”

On February 17, 2006, Armetta was interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and denied knowledge of a system by which customers were retained by carting companies, or by which customers were retained through intimidation.

On October 23, 2007, Armetta pleaded guilty to one count of structuring a currency transaction to evade a reporting requirement. On March 12, 2007, Armetta cashed a check in the amount of $9600 at a Citizen’s Bank branch in Cromwell. Later that same day, he cashed a check in the amount of $9700 at a Webster Bank branch in Cromwell. Armetta returned to the Citizen’s Bank in Cromwell later that day or the following morning and cashed a third check in the amount of $9800.

Federal law requires all financial institutions to file a Currency Transaction Report (CTR) for currency transactions that exceed $10,000. To evade the filing of a CTR, individuals will often structure their currency transactions so that no single transaction exceeds $10,000. Structuring involves the repeated depositing of amounts of cash less than the $10,000 limit, or the splitting of a cash transaction that exceeds $10,000 into smaller cash transactions in an effort to avoid the reporting requirements. Even if the deposited funds are derived from a legitimate means, financial transactions conducted in this manner are still in violation of federal criminal law.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service — Criminal Investigation Division, the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General and the Connecticut State Police. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael J. Gustafson, Raymond F. Miller, and Mark D. Rubino prosecuted this case.

For more information, contact:

U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
Tom Carson
203-821-3722
thomas.carson@usdoj.gov

(www.usdoj.gov/usao/ct/Press2007/20071205-2.html)

This news item first appeared in the Waste Business Journal. To subscribe, visit www.wastebusinessjournal.com


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