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Erie County man admits to magnesium scheme

William Nehill, 62, of Orchard Park, has pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny to conspiracy to smuggle magnesium into the United States.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael DiGiacomo said Nehill was an importer of specialty metals who, in early 2003, used his company, International Technology Group Inc., to enter into an agreement with Superior Metal Powders to import magnesium powder from the People’s Republic of China.

At the time, the United States had a 305.56 percent anti-dumping duty on that type of material in place. To avoid the duty, the magnesium was falsely labeled as magnesium reagent, which has a 5 percent duty. DiGiacomo said the mislabeling resulted in a $6 million duty loss to the United States. Unbeknownst to Nehill, the imported magnesium was ultimately used by others to produce countermeasure flares for use by American military aircraft. 

Sentencing is scheduled for July 13.