A Rumson man remained jailed on Long Island yesterday on federal charges othat he was involved in a $75 million scheme to cheat heating oil customers through rigged meters on delivery trucks, according to an article in Newsday.


Bail hearings for Tonino Solimine, 49, and three other executives at two companies were postponed yesterday until FBI and IRS agents could complete their inspection of trucks owned by the two companies.

After checking out more than 30 delivery vehicles they seized and others owned by the two companies, the agents hadn’t found any that were not rigged, Newsday said sources had told it.

All four defendants pleaded not guilty at an arraignment in Central Islip last week, the newspaper reported.

In a press release issued last week by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn, Solimine is described as the owner of T&S Trucking Corp. in Brooklyn. The company’s office manager was also indicted. All the defendants other than Solimine are said to be New York residents.

From the press release:

The indictments allege that BALDARI and HILLER, beginning as early as 1990, and SOLIMINE and CLARE, beginning as early as 2000, stole heating oil by directing their truck drivers to hold back portions of oil from retail customers, who were fraudulently billed for a full delivery. The defendants allegedly then sold the stolen oil to other oil retailers, primarily for cash payments. The indictments charge that BALDARI and HILLER received approximately $50 million from the sale of stolen heating oil, and SOLIMINE and CLARE received approximately $25 million.

“The defendants made millions of dollars by systematically stealing heating oil from unsuspecting customers. Now, they will be held accountable for their actions,” stated United States Attorney [Roslynn R.] Mauskopf…

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Mershon stated, “The conduct of these defendants gives whole new meanings to two petroleum industry terms. Customers paid for ‘full service,’ as in a full tank load of home heating oil. What they got was ‘self service,’ as in the defendants’ self-dealing that skimmed gallons off each delivery and netted them a multimillion-dollar windfall. Theft is theft, whether it’s done by burglarizing your home or shortchanging your oil delivery.”

If convicted, the defendants each face maximum sentences of 30 years’ imprisonment and fines equal to twice their pecuniary gain. The indictments also seek forfeiture in the total amount of $75 million.

This is from last Saturday’s Asbury Park Press report on the arrests:

Solimine’s lawyer, Joel Winograd, said his client “intends to fight these charges.” He described Solimine as a hardworking Italian immigrant who had built his company from one truck and three employees to 40 trucks and 140 workers.

Monmouth County property records show a Tonino Solimine, Sr. and Helen Solimine owning a 2.7-acre property at 49 Shrewsbury Drive in Rumson assessed at $5.05 million.

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