Carl Monday investigates Cleveland's dirty little secret

Carl Monday investigates Cleveland's dirty little secret

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The man linked to the Gambino crime family, Carmine "the Bull" Agnello, was recently arrested and charged with running a multi-million dollar scrap yard scam in Cleveland.

The indictment indicated Agnello was weighing down junk cars and selling them to a metal recycling facility, inflating his profits by $3 million.

Ed Tomba of the Cleveland Police Department said Agnello was "scamming like he knows how to scam."  But, is this a common practice in the scrap recycling business?

A tipster came to Cleveland 19 News reporting similar practices at another Cleveland scrap yard.

Our Carl Monday went looking for answers.

Nick D'Amato dismantles old boats for a living and recycles the parts at places like American Iron & Metal.
During a recent stop, he claims he witnessed an American Iron & Metal employee weighing down a scrap car. He immediately whipped out his cell phone.

D'amato says he pressed another employee for an explanation. When he didn't get one, he says the employee encouraged him to call Cleveland 19.

"His exact words, when I told him I was going to the news, he told me, he said get Carl Monday down here. Maybe we can make it for the 5 o'clock news," D'Amato said.

American Iron & Metal's Michael Simms says his company hasn't stayed in business for 79 years by trying to beat the system.

It's important to point out, we never did see American Iron & Metal weighting down vehicles, not that we didn't try.

On two different days, we located some old metal shelves at our station. We loaded them up on a pick-up truck and drove to the scrapyard. We had the shelves weighed and removed from our pick-up, the whole time watching to see if any scrapped vehicles were getting weighted down.

We saw nothing remotely suspicious, and we can find no public records that American Iron & Metal was ever suspected of, or investigated for padding the scales with shovels of dirt.

But Nick D'Amato says he saw what he saw and claims an employee confirmed it.

"He told me he already paid for the dirt that was on the ground--sand and gravel---and he can do what he wants. And I told him, I said you're gonna sell those cars and compact them and sell them off for weight? And he told me he's allowed to do it. It's his sand. His gravel. And he's allowed to," D'Amato said.

So what exactly do we have here? Is the video evidence of a crime in progress or something less sinister? Frankly, we don't know.

So we shared the video with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor.

A spokesman for the prosecutor's office called the video "troubling" and says they plan to talk with the cell phone video owner who shot it.

We'll let you know what happens.

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