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Ex-Hasbrouck Heights Scrap Metal Exec Admits Cheating Customers Of Millions

Michael Valenti
Michael Valenti Photo Credit: COURTESY: Cinelli Iron & Metal

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J. -- A former scrap metal company executive from Hasbrouck Heights admitted that he cheated customers out of millions of dollars over 17 years.

During a guilty plea in federal court in Newark on Thursday, Michael A. Valenti III, 43, admitted that he and others at Secaucus-based Cinelli Iron & Metal Co. bought scrap metal for less than they should have paid, then resold if for a profit from 1999 through March 2016.

The net loss was more than $9.5 million, he said.

CIMCO, which operated three recycling facilities in New Jersey, delivered scrap metal containers to customer jobsites, then removed them after they were filled and paid based on the type and net weight of the scrap.

Valenti admitted in federal court in Newark that he and three accomplices -- David Barteck and brothers Craig and Joseph Cinelli Sr. – “used a variety of techniques to misrepresent the true weight and type of the scrap metal, including altering documents to reflect a lower weight, removing scrap metal from a haul before it was weighed and misrepresenting the types of scrap metal contained in a haul,” Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick said.

Barteck, 53, of Wood-Ridge, the former chief financial officer of CIMCO, admitted his role in the scheme last month.

Craig Cinelli, 47, of Allendale and brother, Joseph Cinelli Sr., 61, of Montvale were arrested earlier this month. 

U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton scheduled sentencing for Nov. 21 on Valenti’s guilty plea to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She scheduled Bartek's sentencing on the same offense for Oct. 30.

Fitzpatrick credited special agents with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General; special agents with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General; and special agents of the FBI office in Newark with the investigation leading to the plea, which was secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Shapiro of the U.S. Attorney’s Economic Crimes Unit in Newark. 

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