- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 2, 2017

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Two brothers who own a scrap metal company were involved in a long-running conspiracy that defrauded customers out of millions of dollars, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Craig Cinelli, 47, of Allendale, and Joseph Cinelli Sr., 61, of Montvale, were arrested Wednesday and were due to make their initial court appearances later in the day. Both men face five counts of wire fraud and a single conspiracy count.

The brothers own Secaucus-based Cinelli Iron & Metal Co. Their arrests come several days after David Barteck, 53, of Wood Ridge, who was the company’s former chief financial officer, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Barteck admitted that the loss caused by the conspiracy that was reasonably foreseeable to him was more than $9.5 million, but less than $25 million. He’s due to be sentenced Oct. 30.

Prosecutors say the fraud scheme ran from 1999 through March 2016. They say the firm fraudulently bought scrap metal from customers for less than what they should have been paid, then resold it at a profit.

Instead of paying the proper, agreed-upon amounts for the actual weight, people involved in the conspiracy used a variety of techniques to misrepresent the true weight and type of the scrap metal, prosecutors said. These techniques included 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.

Lawyers for the men could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The Cinelli brothers each face several decades in prison if convicted on all counts.

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