The co-owner of a New Orleans scrap yard referred to only as an unindicted co-conspirator in a May 5 racketeering and auto-theft indictment in Jefferson Parish was indicted Thursday and quickly sentenced to 10 years in prison after admitting to his role in the criminal enterprise.
Harry J. Sorrell, 48, of Slidell, pleaded guilty as charged to racketeering and conspiracy to commit theft just hours after being added to the case in a superseding indictment handed up by a Jefferson Parish grand jury.
The case’s second, unindicted co-conspirator remained unnamed Thursday, though the profile closely matches that of former Orleans Parish Juvenile Court Judge David Bell.
The May indictment said that person is a former elected official in New Orleans who was the business partner of the man revealed in Thursday’s indictment to be Sorrell.
The indictment said the two provided money to members of the theft ring and participated in filing fraudulent insurance claims, with the former elected official using his political weight to “prevent or otherwise hamper” investigations into the overall operation.
Bell is listed in state records as Sorrell’s business partner in H&H Scrap on Old Gentilly Road.
Bell, who resigned his judicial post in the midst of a sexual harassment scandal in 2010, denied involvement in any sort of auto theft ring when contacted by The New Orleans Advocate on May 13.
“I’m not involved in it. I’ve never been contacted by any investigative body,” he said.