DA SINI: GAROFALO CARTING COMPANY SENTENCED IN CORRUPT SCHEME TO DEFRAUD TOWN OF SMITHTOWN
Case Resulted in Payments of $222K in Restitution to Town, $32K to Underpaid Company Workers
(RIVERHEAD, N.Y.) – Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini was joined by the Suffolk County Police Department and Town of Smithtown officials today to announce the sentencing of V. Garofalo Carting, Inc., and its principal officer and employee in connection with a scheme to defraud the Town of Smithtown by illegally passing off consumer waste as commercial waste generated by businesses in the Town of Smithtown. The corporation was also found to have violated prevailing wage laws by underpaying its employees.
“These defendants were stealing money from the taxpayers in the Town of Smithtown and from their own hardworking employees,” District Attorney Sini said. “The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, in collaboration with the Suffolk County Police Department, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Town of Smithtown, put an end to it. This was an extremely complex investigation and prosecution, but with today’s sentencing, this criminal enterprise has been effectively shut down and justice has been served for Smithtown residents.”
“Thanks to the multi-agency collaboration, Garofalo Carting Company and its owners were not only held accountable for defrauding the Town of Smithtown but are ordered to pay restitution for their illegal profits,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said. “I would like to commend the detectives who worked diligently on this case and I hope our strong partnership with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office sends a message that fraudulent business practices will not be tolerated in Suffolk County.”
“Today’s verdict is the product of an intricate intergovernmental investigation, which was exceptionally well litigated,” said Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim. “I would like to thank the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, the Suffolk County Police Department, Smithtown’s Public Safety Department and our Town Attorney’s office for leading a steadfast operation which undoubtedly led to a just sentencing.”
Mario Garofalo, 61, of East Northport, and Robert “Bobby” Garofalo, 64, of Kings Park, each pleaded guilty on May 13 to Attempted Enterprise Corruption, a C felony. The corporate entity V. Garofalo Carting, Inc., pleaded guilty to Enterprise Corruption, a B felony. The three defendants were sentenced today by Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice William J. Condon to conditional discharges, which included restitution payments of $222,000 to the Town of Smithtown and $32,000 to underpaid employees of the company.
Over the course of several years, the defendants defrauded the Town of Smithtown by engaging in a scheme to unlawfully cause payment by the Town of Smithtown for the disposal of waste that originated outside the Town.
The Town of Smithtown pays Covanta Waste Management for the disposal of commercial waste from certain businesses operating within the Town. The acceptable commercial waste must be generated from known businesses within the Town, registered by unique accounts with the Town, and the registered businesses must pay fees and receive a unique medallion identifying the establishment as part of the plan. The carting companies, including V. Garofalo Carting, Inc., submit a manifest each time Smithtown commercial waste is brought to Covanta, attesting to the contents.
The investigation revealed that the Garofalos and their company, V. Garofalo Carting, Inc., repeatedly disposed of waste collected throughout Long Island from their customers, including through roll-off containers, at the Covanta facility, falsely attesting that the waste was solely Town of Smithtown commercial waste. In total, the investigation found that the Garofalo corporation unlawfully avoided paying $222,000 in fees which were instead paid by the Town as a result of the scheme.
“That’s $222,000 in residents’ tax dollars that these defendants pocketed for no reason other than their own greed,” District Attorney Sini said. “Because of the great work of the investigators and prosecutors on this case, with close collaboration and support from the Town of Smithtown, we have made sure that the full $222,000 is being paid back to the Town of Smithtown in restitution.”
The defendants profited from the scheme by falsifying business records, including their garbage disposal manifests, and submitting them to the Town of Smithtown for payment. The defendants also profited from the fees collected from their private customers for both garbage pick-up as well as roll-off container rentals.
During the course of the investigation, the Town of Smithtown also referred to the District Attorney’s Office prevailing wage claims by employees of V. Garofalo Carting, Inc. The investigation found that the corporation had underpaid employees in the amount of $32,000. As part of the sentencing, the corporation was required to pay the $32,000 to workers.
“Enterprise Corruption cases are often extremely complex, and certainly require a lot of hard work and dedication by investigators and prosecutors, but our office is determined,” District Attorney Sini said. “We are committed to dedicating resources and utilizing innovative strategies to seek justice in each and every case, and that’s exactly what was done here today.”
This case was prosecuted by Criminal Investigations Division Chief Megan O’Donnell and Assistant District Attorney Lucie Kwon, of the Financial Investigations & Money Laundering Bureau.