Three Cranston men were indicted by a federal grand jury on Wednesday for allegedly stealing more than 200,000 gallons of used cooking oil from hundreds of restaurants in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and selling it to a New Hampshire company to make biofuel.
The scam reportedly netted the men more than $430,000.
The indictment charges Andrew Jeremiah, 76, and his brother, Bruce Jeremiah, 70, owners and operators of Jeremiah Motors Corp., Removal Services, and Green Energy, in Central Falls, R.I., and Anthony Simone, Sr., 58, a truck driver employed by the Jeremiah brothers, with conspiracy to transport stolen goods, wares and merchandise (used vegetable cooking oil) between Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and between Rhode Island and New Hampshire; and interstate transportation of stolen property. The defendants were released on unsecured bond following their arraignment today before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan. Not guilty pleas were entered on their behalf.
According to the indictment, between January 1, 2011, and November 9, 2012, Anthony Simone, Sr., and others, were provided various lists of businesses in Rhode Island and Massachusetts where quantities of used cooking oil could be found. About three times a week, between the hours of midnight and 6:00 am, Simone, using a truck registered to Jeremiah Motors, allegedly visited those businesses and others, and, without permission from the businesses, pumped the used cooking oil into a storage tank on the truck. The cooking oil was transported to the Central Falls industrial facility operated by the Jeremiah brothers.
It is alleged that, on average, Simone made three trips a week collecting between 600 to 1,000 gallons of used vegetable cooking oil each trip. It is alleged that between January 2011 and November 2012, the scheme resulted in the theft of over 200,000 gallons of used cooking oil that, in turn, was sold to a New Hampshire company for nearly $430,000.
According to the indictment, Bruce Jeremiah was responsible for emptying the cooking oil into holding tanks at the Central Falls facility. Andrew Jeremiah was responsible for selling and arranging transportation of the stolen cooking oil to a company in New Hampshire that processes used vegetable cooking oil for use in animal feed and biofuel. According to the indictment, the New Hampshire company regularly sent tanker trucks to the Central Falls facility where the defendants allegedly loaded between 2,000 and 7,000 gallons of used vegetable oil per trip.
Conspiracy to unlawfully transport, transmit and transfer stolen goods, wares and merchandise in interstate commerce is punishable by a maximum sentence of up to five years in federal prison followed by up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000; interstate transportation of stolen property is punishable by a maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison followed by up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin S. Towbin.
The matter was investigated by the Central Falls Police Department and the FBI.