Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty has announced the indictment of Carmine Agnello, his wife Danielle Agnello, Eagle Auto Parts, Inc., Charity Towing, LLC, and Alfred McClairn on racketeering and related charges.
McGinty is seeking a bond of no less than $1 million in the case based on what he calls Agnello's history of threats, intimidation and contempt.
The investigation into these criminal activities spanned 30 months and revealed that since 2012, Agnello has systemically defrauded a regional scrap metal processing facility for more than $4.2 million. Agnello did so by artificially weighing down scrap automobiles with dirt and other debris and by bribing employees of the scrap facility to look the other way or adjust his weight values to include the debris.
During the course of the three years covered by the evidence in this case, Agnello generated $4,218,768.58 in ill-gotten gains through the operations of his criminal enterprise. The indictment seeks forfeiture of the property that Agnello used to commit the offenses, as well as equipment and contraband that police seized when they searched his scrap operations on July 14, 2015.
Agnello has a lengthy criminal history involving the mafia. In 2002, Agnello pled guilty in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York to Racketeering and Conspiracy to Defraud the IRS. That case established Agnello's status as a soldier or "made man" in the Gambino Crime Family, which operated out of New York. Agnello was indicted for extorting rivals in the New York scrap metal business, orchestrating the firebombing of an undercover police scrap metal operation, and failing to pay taxes on the millions of ill-gotten gains he generated from his illegal schemes. As part of his guilty plea in that case, Agnello agreed to forfeit $10 million to the United States Government, pay $1 million in restitution, and agreed to never again go into the scrap industry. Agnello served approximately six years in prison, and upon his release, settled in Northeast Ohio and immediately began his automobile scrapping operation in Cleveland.
Also named in the indictment was Carmine Agnello's wife, Danielle Agnello, who owns the companies in which her husband committed the indicted offenses. The Grand Jury indicted Mrs. Agnello, her companies, and her husband for multiple environmental offenses that police officers discovered when they searched the Agnello scrap yards on July 14. These include felony indictments for open dumping, contaminating Ohio's waterways with industrial waste, and operating a tire storage facility without applying for a permit.
Alfred McClairn, an employee of the same regional scrap metal facility that Agnello defrauded, was also indicted for theft, money laundering, and receiving stolen property after he accepted bribes from an undercover police officer to process purportedly stolen automobiles.
Today's indictments are the product of an extensive regional and national law enforcement partnership. The Cleveland Police Intelligence Unit collaborated with New York City Police Department's Organized Crime Investigation Division, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office Public Corruption Unit to investigate mafia activity in Cleveland.
NYPD provided Cleveland Police with detailed background information describing Agnello's modus operandi and additional intelligence of the Gambino Organized Crime Family, while undercover Cleveland Police Officers were able to infiltrate Gambino crime operations in both Cleveland and New York City, where they gathered the evidence leading to today's indictments.
"I commend the courage, bravery, and tenacity of the undercover police officers who risked their lives to expose ongoing mafia activity in Cleveland and New York," said Prosecutor McGinty. "We will vigorously pursue criminal prosecutions against any mafia activity in Cleveland and will indict any offense they commit until they get the message that Cleveland is closed for mafia business."
The investigation into mafia activity in Cleveland is ongoing, and additional indictments are expected.