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Alleged ringleader gets 2 to 4 years in illegal East End dumping scheme

09/24/2019 5:50 AM |

A Smithtown man described as a ringleader in an illegal dumping scheme that targeted East End homeowners was sentenced to 2 to 4 years in prison Monday.

Anthony Grazio, 54, was among 30 individuals and nine corporations charged in a 130-count indictment in an alleged conspiracy to illegally dispose of solid waste at 24 locations on Long Island, according to District Attorney Timothy Sini.

Mr. Grazio pleaded guilty in May to two counts of second-degree criminal mischief and two counts of third-degree endangering public health, safety or environment, all felonies. He also pleaded guilty to a pair of misdemeanors: fifth-degree conspiracy and operating a solid waste management facility without a permit.

At his sentencing before Judge Timothy Mazzei Monday, Mr. Grazio was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $500,000.

Prosecutors previously said the victims of the scheme — including property owners in Calverton, Baiting Hollow, Flanders and Greenport — had responded to advertisements for “free-screened clean fill” on places like Craigslist. But ultimately the victims were left with solid waste that often contained toxic and acutely hazardous materials like arsenic, lead and mercury, prosecutors alleged.

“The defendant, with no regard for the safety and wellbeing of Suffolk County residents, facilitated the dumping of solid waste on residential properties, properties near schools, and other sites,” District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a statement. “Many of the sites contained materials that were hazardous or acutely hazardous. This is a major issue for those individual homeowners who were affected and a major issue for the general public.”

Prosecutors said that between January and July 2018, Mr. Grazio would act as a dirt broker by arranging for locations where trucking companies could illegally dispose of solid waste. He also solicited homeowners over the phone and in person for locations to use for dumping.

On May 14, 2018, Mr. Grazio sent a text message to Thomas St. Clair, 51, of Saint James, instructing him to dump material at a residential location on Flanders Road in Riverside. On May 29, Cesar Ivan Bermeo, 33, of Queens coordinated for three Kris Trucking Corp trucks to each dump a load of material containing solid waste at the Flanders Road site.

The indictment says $1,500 worth of damage was done to the property.

A residential site on Landing Lane in Greenport also received a delivery of material from Durante Brothers that was delivered by Mr. Melgar. That delivery included solid waste and caused $1,500 worth of damage, according to the indictment.

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