Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced Thursday the owner of Cinelli Iron & Metal Co., a scrap metal recycling company, pleaded guilty defrauding customers out of millions of dollars over a 17-year period.
Forty-seven-year-old Craig Cinelli of Allendale, New Jersey conspired with 53-year-old David Barteck of Wood Ridge, New Jersey, 43-year-old Michael A. Valenti III of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey and his brother, Joseph Cinelli Sr., to defraud customers out of “more than $9.5 million, but less than $25 million.” Barteck was the Chief Financial officer of Cinelli Iron & Metal and Valenti the senior vice president of sales.
Cinelli Iron & Metal would purchase scrap metal from companies, with pay based on the net weight and type of scrap material. From 1999 through March 2016, Craig Cinelli, Joseph Cinelli, Valenti and Barteck utilized several fraudulent business practices to purchase scrap from customers. They paid customers a lower rate than what Cinelli Iron & Metal generally paid for scrap metal. The scrap metal was then resold at a profit, according to court documents.
The defendants utilized several methods to misrepresent the actual type and weight of the scrap metal. They went so far as to alter documents to reflect a lower weight and remove some of the scrap metal, before it was weighed. They also misrepresented the types of metal collected from jobsites.
Craig Cinelli faces a maximum 40-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 15, 2018.