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Co-Owner of New Jersey Scrap Metal Company Sentenced to Prison for Role in Fraud Scheme

On October 23, 2019, Craig Cinelli, co-owner of Cinelli Iron & Metal Co. (CIMCO), was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Newark, New Jersey, to 33 months’ incarceration, 3 years’ supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. He was also ordered to pay restitution; the court will hold a separate hearing to determine the amount. Cinelli and CIMCO co-owner Joseph Cinelli, Sr., were indicted on August 1, 2017, on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. On April 2, 2018, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) instituted 3-year debarments against CIMCO and Craig Cinelli.
CIMCO, which was headquartered in Secaucus, New Jersey, purchased scrap metal for resale and operated three scrap metal recycling facilities in the State. The investigation revealed that between approximately 1999 and March 2016, Craig Cinelli used a variety of fraudulent business practices when dealing with CIMCO’s customers, including the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Instead of paying the proper, agreed-upon amounts for the scrap metal, based on its actual weight and type, Cinelli and others used a variety of techniques to misrepresent the scrap metal and pay less than they owed. These techniques included altering documents to reflect a lower weight and removing scrap metal from a haul before it was weighed. The company then resold the scrap metal at a profit.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Department of Labor OIG and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey.