Jefferson Co. scrap dealer to pay $45k over Ft. Drum shell casings

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WWTI) – A Jefferson County scrap company has agreed to pay $45,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by receiving government property from unauthorized individuals.

In a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Syracuse, Northstar Auto and Salvage LLC, of Evans Mills collected brass shell casings from Fort Drum live fire exercises and sold it for a profit of around $24,000. However, the scrap dealer never had a contract with the base.

According to the attorney’s office, from 2017-19, a Fort Drum civilian employee and two soldiers took approximately 29,000 pounds of brass from the centralized processing facility. Neither the civilian employee nor the soldiers were authorized to dispose of the brass.

These individuals sold the brass to Northstar, delivering it in personally-owned pickup trucks, not military vehicles.  Northstar then sold the brass on the open market, receiving $24,012 in profit.  Northstar did not make any effort to verify whether the individuals were authorized to dispose of the brass, beyond accepting their verbal assurances that they were authorized. 

The knowing receipt of public property from a federal employee or member of the Armed Forces who lawfully may not sell such property, including acting with deliberate ignorance, violates the False Claims Act.

The investigation and settlement came from a coordinated effort among the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York, and the Northeast Field Office of the Department of the Army, Criminal Investigation Division.  The New York State Police provided substantial assistance. 

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