Intrieri Sentenced to 30 Months for Wire Fraud
The United States Attorney(s Office announced that STEPHEN SALVATORE INTRIERI, 30, of Mount Laurel, New Jersey, was sentenced on February 20, 2014, to a term of 30 months in federal prison for with three years of supervised release to follow, for running an interstate scrap metal scam. Intrieri was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen in Missoula. Christensen also ordered Intrieri to pay $326,474.36 in restitution.
In an Offer of Proof filed with the Court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Racicot
Whitefish Police Department initially received a complaint from an officer with a New Jersey scrap metal procurement company that buys scrap metal in the United States and sells it overseas. On February 29, 2012, the company received a call from "Tony Giordano," a salesman for Montana Metal Recyclers ("MMR"), which was allegedly doing business from Whitefish, about purchasing scrap metal. An agreement was reached and on June 8, 2012, the New Jersey company wired $19,000 to MMR's bank account at Bank of America.
The officer of the New Jersey company told police that he was cautious in his dealings with Giordano, but Giordano's knowledge of the scrap metal industry made him comfortable proceeding with the deal after receiving pictures of the material he was purchasing and Giordano's answers to some technical questions about the industry and the shipment. After he sent the money, Giordano could never be reached and the company never received the scrap metal it had purchased. When the company official was later asked if he had prior interactions with Intrieri, he described being defrauded out of $30,000 by Intrieri and Northeast Metal Traders in approximately 2009, and provided the documents from that transaction.
It is not uncommon for persons engaged in telemarketing fraud to return to prior victims-a technique referred to as "reloading"--with assurances that they want to redeem themselves by making it up to the victim with a second deal often more lucrative than the first. This scam prays on the desire to make up for lost investment and the chance to recoup lost funds is often too seductive to resist.
Another victim contacted the Whitefish police-as well as the Secret Service in New York-to report that he paid MMR $95,000 on the basis of representations made by a man who called himself "Tony Giordano," to buy scrap metal that he never received. The second victim, A.B., made two attempts to verify the legitimacy of MMR, including one with a person, A.W., whose name was referenced in a sales agreement to which MMR was a party. A.B. received a response to his email to A.W. indicating MMR was a reputable company, but when he actually spoke with A.W., he learned that A.W. did not send the email and had never heard of MMR.
The Secret Service in New York initiated an investigation into MMR, during which they discovered MMR did not have a facility or office at the address in Whitefish listed on the incorporation documents. They traced some of the money that paid to MMR to the purchase of a $37,510 engagement ring by Intrieri on February 10, 2012, from Jay Roberts Jewelers in Marlton, New Jersey. Intrieri paid for the ring with a cashier's check from RBS Citizens Bank. The owner of the jewelry store was interviewed and confirmed that a man who provided the name Steve Intrieri bought a 3-carat diamond engagement ring. Intrieri told the jeweler that he lived in Bayonne, NJ, and his parents lived in Mount Laurel, NJ.
The second victim was Facebook friends with Intrieri and told one of the investigating agents that Intrieri proposed to his girlfriend on February 11, 2012, and posted pictures of her wearing a large diamond ring. The second victim provided screen shots of the posts to the Secret Service and the owner of the jewelry store identified the ring that he sold Intrieri in the photo from the post on his fiancÚ's Facebook page. The owner also identified Intrieri from the RBS Citizen's Bank surveillance, which was captured at the same time he obtained the cashier's check to pay for the ring. The agents in New York eventually turned over their investigation to an agent in Montana, given that MMR was incorporated in Montana and allegedly had a business address in Whitefish.
RBS Citizens Bank froze MMR's account sometime around February 15, 2012. MMR's first statement for the Bank of America account covers the time period from February 15-29, 2012, which indicates it was opened the same time the RBS account was frozen. Intrieri wired more than $125,000 from the MMR Bank of America account into his personal Chase bank account, and nearly $10,000 was wired into his fiancÚ's account. Altogether, it appears that Intrieri received approximately $370,000 from the various victims of the MMR scheme. Approximately $49,000 was returned to the second victim with the RBS Citizens account was frozen.
Investigating agents found that Intrieri was affiliated with seven different businesses, at least four of which appeared to deal with scrap metal sales. Their searches revealed that Intrieri had been the subject of prior Secret Service investigations and had a criminal history. The agents also interviewed other victims of Intrieri's scheme, who provided information consistent with what was relayed by the victims who had contacted the Whitefish Police Department.
U.S. Attorney Mike Cotter reminded all Montanans to be wary of "cold calls" promising lucrative returns, particularly if you have been a prior victim of telemarketing fraud.
Unsolicited calls from people you do not know, making promises you want to believe, are most often completely fraudulent. These swindlers feed on people's dreams of an easier-more financially secure-future. With one phone call, they can steal those dreams by taking away all you've saved and everything you were saving for. And if you've been fooled before they will be back to take whatever they did not get the first time around." -- Mike Cotter, U.S. Attorney for Montana.