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Co-Owner of NJ Scrap Metal Company Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy

On November 9, Craig Cinelli, co-owner of Cinelli Iron & Metal Co. (CIMCO), pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Newark, NJ, to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Cinelli, along with CIMCO co-owner Joseph Cinelli, Sr., was indicted on August 1, 2017 on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud. CIMCO, which was headquartered in Secaucus, NJ, purchased scrap metal for resale and operated three scrap-metal recycling facilities in New Jersey.

From approximately 1999 through March of 2016, Cinelli and others used a variety of fraudulent business practices to buy scrap metal from CIMCO’s customers for less than the company should have paid. CIMCO then resold the scrap metal at a profit. The New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a DOT grantee, was one of CIMCO’s customers. Instead of paying the agreed-upon amounts for the actual weight, Cinelli and others used a variety of techniques to misrepresent the true weight and type of scrap metal, including altering documents to reflect a lower weight and removing scrap metal from a haul before it was weighed. The estimated fraud loss is between $9.5 million and $25 million.

Craig Cinelli’s sentencing has been scheduled for February 15, 2018.

This investigation is being conducted with the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by the United States Attorneys’ Office, District of New Jersey.