Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced the sentencing of SCOTT VITELLO, 40, to 1-to-3 years in state prison for facilitating the theft of hundreds of thousands of gallons of heating oil, valued at over $600,000, from a fuel terminal in Brooklyn. On March 1, 2017, the defendant pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree.
“The illicit trade of stolen heating oil has led to millions of dollars in fraud and losses for fuel terminals and customers alike,” said District Attorney Vance. “In this case, I commend Buckeye Partners for assisting in the investigation, working collaboratively with my Office to ensure the integrity of the industry and identify those who seek to profit on the loss of others. I encourage other companies to make similar efforts to crack down on conduct that undermines honest business.”
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Gonzalez said: “This defendant engaged in a widespread scheme that consisted of fraud and brazen theft in the heating oil industry which shorted the City and its residents by stealing millions of dollars in fuel each year. With today’s imposed sentence he has now been held responsible for his actions.”
As admitted in the defendant’s guilty plea, between January and July 2014, VITELLO managed a heating oil terminal located at 722 Court Street, which was owned and operated by Buckeye Partners, L.P. (“Buckeye”), a major petroleum distributor. During this period, the defendant allowed unauthorized individuals and tanker trucks to pull into the loading racks, fill their tanks, and leave the terminal with stolen heating oil, which was sold by the defendant at a fraction of the retail cost. To cover the theft, VITELLO disabled counters that track the number of gallons dispensed at the loading racks, changed the position of security cameras at the terminal, and allowed unauthorized pick-ups during early morning or late evening hours.
To date, all seven individuals indicted in Brooklyn have been convicted of crimes related to the theft of heating oil from the Buckeye terminal. Additionally, more than 40 defendants indicted in Manhattan have pleaded guilty to fraudulent schemes in the heating oil transportation industry, and more than $7.4 million has been ordered in restitution, fines, and forfeiture.
Assistant District Attorney Anne Ternes, Deputy Chief of the Tax Crimes Unit, and Assistant District Attorney Jerrold Steigman handled the prosecution of the case, with the assistance of Assistant District Attorneys Rebecca Gibson and Felice Sontupe, of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, and under the supervision of William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Investigations Division.
The following members of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office provided additional assistance with the investigation and case: Assistant District Attorney Jane Khodarkovsky, Assistant District Attorney Michael Ohm, Deputy Chief of the Rackets Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Judy Salwen, Principal Deputy Chief of the Rackets Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Jodie Kane, Chief of the Rackets Bureau, and Executive Assistant District Attorney Michael R. Sachs, Chief of the Investigation Division. Additional assistance was provided by Paralegals Kyle Tramonte, Madeleine Ayer, and Alexandra Oviedo, Analyst William “BJ” Stramezzi, Transcription Analyst Olivia Sitbon, and Associate Financial Investigator Daniel McNichol.
District Attorneys Vance and Gonzalez thanked the following individuals and agencies for their assistance and cooperation: the NYPD, and in particular, Detectives William Martin and Biagio Santangelo, as well as the NYPD OCID-BIC team; the City of New York Business Integrity Commission, and in particular, Deputy Commissioner of Investigations Christopher Mahon and Investigator Dominick Albergo; and Patrick Monaghan, Associate General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Buckeye Partners, L.P.
SCOTT VITELLO, D.O.B. 6/24/1976
• Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
• 1-to-3 years in state prison