Heating oil scammer who pocketed millions takes plea

Written on: October 28, 2016 by ICM

By Frank Donnelly | [email protected]
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on October 27, 2016 at 4:52 PM, updated October 27, 2016 at 8:19 PM
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A Staten Island resident whose Brooklyn-based heating oil companies cheated customers of millions of dollars of heating oil and resold that fuel for millions of dollars in profit on the black market, pleaded guilty Thursday to a corruption charge, prosecutors said.
Gabriel Nortesano, 53, was among 44 persons, including seven Staten Islanders, and nine companies, charged in November of last year in multimillion-dollar, citywide scams in which customers were shortchanged on heating oil deliveries, authorities said.
Five of the victims in the overarching scheme were borough schools, authorities said at the time.
Nortesano owns G&D Petroleum Transportation Inc. and G&D Heating Oil, prosecutors said.
Between September 2006 and April 2014, Nortesano and G&D Transportation contracted to deliver millions of gallons of heating oil to thousands of residential, commercial and municipal properties throughout the city.
Nortesano employed several co-defendants as drivers and equipped G&D trucks with drop hoses and bypass values that allowed drivers to divert oil back into the delivery trucks and shortchange customers, said authorities.
Nortesano told drivers which customers to rip off and how much they should be shorted, prosecutors said. He allegedly compensated drivers based on the amount of oil they stole.
Nortesano also tipped complicit terminal dispatchers for sending G&D drivers to locations where customers could be more easily duped, prosecutors said.
In one five-month period, Nortesano, G&D and its drivers stole more than a million gallons of oil from customers throughout the five boroughs, said prosecutors.
Between February 2010 and December 2013, Nortesano sold more than $800,000 gallons of pilfered heating oil through G&D Heating Oil to other companies for a $2 million profit, officials said.
“As temperatures begin to drop, New Yorkers rely on retailers and fuel transportation companies like G&D to deliver the heating oil that keeps themselves and their families warm,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. in a statement. “Gabriel Nortesano directed a scheme to defraud New York City residents, building owners, and taxpayers of millions of gallons of heating oil, which he sold for significant profit on the black market.”
Nortesano and each of his companies pleaded guilty to a felony count of enterprise corruption.
In exchange for his plea, Nortesano will be sentenced to three to nine years in  prison and will be ordered to pay $2.25 million in restitution.
Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 7 in Manhattan state Supreme Court.
Public records indicate Nortesano lives in Richmond.
“Mr. Nortesano fully admitted his mistakes, and he hopes that the restitution he’s agreed to pay will go to minimize the suffering of the victims,” said his lawyer, Joseph R. Conway.
To date, more than 15 defendants have pleaded guilty in the case and more than $7.4 million has been ordered in restitution, fines and forfeiture, said Vance.
The borough schools stiffed in the overall scheme were Susan Wagner High School, Tottenville High School, Barnes Intermediate School (I.S. 24) in Great Kills, Bernstein Intermediate School (I.S. 7) in Huguenot and Prall Intermediate School (I.S. 27) in West Brighton, officials said last year in announcing the charges.
Officials did not say how much the schools were shortchanged.
Authorities said the indictments resulted from a long-term joint probe conducted by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, the NYPD, the city’s Business Integrity Commission, Department of Investigation and Department of Consumer Affairs and the state Department of Taxation and Finance.

Article courtesy of SILive.com