January 17, 2020
New Jersey Scrap Metal Company Officials Ordered To Pay $25.4 Million in Restitution
On January 17, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, ordered Craig Cinelli, co-owner of Cinelli Iron & Metal Co. (CIMCO); Michael A. Valenti III, CIMCO’s former senior vice president of sales; and David Barteck, CIMCO’s former chief financial officer—(collectively, the defendants)—to pay $25,485,568 in restitution to various fraud victims. The defendants, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud, are jointly and severally liable for the total restitution amount.
CIMCO, which was headquartered in Secaucus, New Jersey, purchased scrap metal for resale and operated three scrap metal recycling facilities in the State. Between approximately 1999 and March 2016, the defendants used a variety of fraudulent business practices to buy scrap metal from CIMCO’s customers, including the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a DOT grantee, for less than the amount CIMCO should have paid. Instead of paying the proper, agreed-upon amounts for the actual weight, the defendants used a variety of techniques to misrepresent the true weight and type of the scrap metal, including altering documents to reflect a lower weight and removing scrap metal from hauls before it was weighed. CIMCO then resold the scrap metal at a profit.
The Federal Transit Administration instituted 3-year debarments against CIMCO and the defendants.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with Department of Labor OIG and the FBI.