‘Grease Brothers’ agree to plead guilty for stealing old cooking oil
Source: Providence Journal
By: Tom Mooney
Cranston brothers, 72 and 78, get home confinement in stolen cooking grease case
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Two elderly Cranston brothers who stole thousands of gallons of old cooking grease from restaurants during almost two years of covert raids were spared prison Thursday.
Andrew Jeremiah, 78, and his younger brother Bruce, 72, appeared before U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, who sentenced the two men to two years probation with the first six months devoted to home confinement.
The judge noted the men’s advanced age and health issues as the primary reason for sparing the brothers prison. In light of those concerns, he said prison wasn’t warranted in either case.
In September, the brothers pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiring to transport stolen goods valued at more than $5,000.
The brothers had been awaiting trial on charges they stole $120,000 worth of used frying oil from scores of restaurants in Rhode Island and Massachusetts between January 2011 and November 2012 before being snared in an undercover investigation involving an informant who wore a wire.
Federal authorities contend the Jeremiah brothers sought to capitalize on the dramatic rise in the value of used cooking grease, running their illicit business from a leased warehouse in Central Falls where they stored the stolen grease before selling it in bulk to a New Hampshire company.
Authorities say they partnered with a third man, Anthony Simone Sr., 60, who visited the restaurants in a truck retrofitted with a cistern in the bed, sucking off hundreds of gallons of vegetable oil from back-alley grease bins.
Simone has also entered a plea agreement and is scheduled for sentencing after the new year.
Cooking grease, once a waste product that restaurants had to pay someone to dispose of, is now a valuable commodity in the biofuel industry. Restaurants now sell it to rendering companies for as much as $1.40 a gallon.