The former Director of the Division of Facilities Management for Union County was sentenced today to 70 months in prison for his role in defrauding the county of more than $120,000 in connection with the purchasing of supplies, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Aniello Palmieri, 59, of Toms River previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls to an information charging him with one count of honest services mail fraud. Judge Walls imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
According to documents in this case and statements made in court: From January 2006 to September 2010, Palmieri was the Director of the Division of Facilities Management for Union County, overseeing the purchasing of building materials, tools, hardware, janitorial supplies and other supplies used by the various Bureaus of the Division of Facilities Management. During the same time period, his codefendant, Frank Donald Vicendese, III, 50, of Berkeley Heights owned and operated Viva Group LLC, a commercial maintenance and construction business that sold, among other products, hardware, tools and accessories to counties in New Jersey.
Vicendese generated fictitious invoices to Union County through Palmieri for many hardware items. Palmieri then provided county payment vouchers to Vicendese, who signed and returned the vouchers to Palmieri. Palmieri approved the vouchers for payment by falsely verifying that the products were received by Union County, when in fact, the products were not received. Vicendese then compensated Palmieri with cash, gift cards and valuable items, including a Bowflex physical fitness machine, Panasonic Hard Drive Camcorder, and a Canon PowerShot Digital Camera, in exchange for Palmieri’s official action and assistance in the scheme. Viva Group received between $120,000 and $200,000 in fraudulent proceeds from the fictitious invoices. 2 In addition to the prison term, Judge Walls sentenced Palmieri to three years of supervised release. Vicendese, who pleaded guilty in October 2013, is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 21, 2015. U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel; and the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked the N.J. Attorney General’s Office under the direction of Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman, and Eli Honig, Director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, for their work in this investigation. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark McCarren of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.