A central New York farmer, a New Jersey demolition company, its owner and two other men dumped 30,000 tons of asbestos-contaminated construction debris on farmland near the Mohawk River in Herkimer County in 2006, federal prosecutors said today.
The conspirators planned to continue dumping pulverized refuse in wetlands and the river’s flood plain over five years using a fake state permit, authorities said.
The indictment unsealed Friday named Mazza & Sons of Tinton Falls, N.J., 60-year-old company owner Dominick Mazza, and 59-year-old farm owner Cross Nicastro II of Frankfort. Also charged were 69-year-old Julius DeSimone of Rome, N.Y., and 54-year-old Donald Torriero of Wellington, Fla.
The men were arrested Friday. Prosecutors said DeSimone managed excavation and dumping at the site, and Torriero fabricated and transmitted the fake permit.
Defense attorney Paul Brickfield said pleas of not guilty were entered on behalf of the company and Mazza, who was released on his own recognizance from the federal court in Newark. “We plan on fighting the charges vigorously,” he said.
Nicastro pleaded not guilty Friday in Syracuse and was released. The others were expected to enter similar pleas. Calls to other attorneys were not immediately returned.
Earlier this year, Eagle Recycling of North Bergen, N.J., pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the case and agreed to pay $500,000 and comply with environmental laws. It was accused of producing most of the truckloads of debris dumped on 1.3 acres on the 28-acre farm in Frankfort.
A waste trucking broker, Jonathan Deck, pleaded guilty in 2009 and awaits sentencing. He could face up to five years depending on his cooperation with authorities.
The Frankfort dump was shut down in 2006, Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Benedict said. Federal and state environmental officials from New York, New Jersey and Ohio investigated.
Prosecutors said once the group learned they were under investigation, they began concealing, altering and destroying documents sought in grand jury subpoenas. The indictment also charges conspiracy to violate Superfund laws and to commit wire fraud.