Federal Probe of Price Fixing Lands New York Man in Prison

Date: December 4, 2008

Source: US Attorney's Office District of Connecticut

Former New York Carting Company Principal is Sentenced

Nora R. Dannehy, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that GARY MUELLER, 54, of Brewster, New York, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Ellen Bree Burns in New Haven to six months of imprisonment at a halfway house, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Judge Burns also ordered MUELLER to pay a fine in the amount of $4000. MUELLER pleaded guilty to the charge on May 18, 2007.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, MUELLER, formerly a principal at two New York refuse hauling companies GEM Enterprises and Tri-County Disposal, has admitted that he conspired to perpetuate a system, commonly called the "property rights system," through which carters would not service or compete for other carters' customers. Specifically, MUELLER admitted that he participated in conversations in which he learned of a plan by representatives from James Galante-owned Automated Waste Disposal ("AWD") and affiliated companies of Danbury to increase garbage hauling rates to above-market levels in the New York area. MUELLER also admitted that, on another occasion in approximately 2004, he took part in several conversations in Connecticut and New York with Ciro Viento of AWD to aid in unlawfully seeking to economically harm a competitor in Connecticut. MUELLER agreed to let Galante's salesmen to use his company to underbid a competing garbage hauler in Westchester as retribution for that garbage hauler's lawfully competing in the sanitation industry in Connecticut. MUELLER admitted that he provided his co-conspirators, who were not licensed to transact business in Westchester, with service contracts from his company that they, in turn, used to solicit business from the competing garbage hauler.

Thirty-three individuals, including MUELLER, Galante, and Viento, have pleaded guilty to various federal charges stemming from a long-term investigation into the waste-hauling industry in Connecticut and eastern New York. James Galante currently is serving a 87-month term of imprisonment and Viento is serving a 30-month term for their roles in this conspiracy.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 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 Henry K. Kopel are prosecuting these cases.

For more information, contact:
U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722
thomas.carson@usdoj.gov.

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