Ex-LIRR signalman fined for role in copper thefts

Michael Carsten, a former Long Island Rail Road

Michael Carsten, a former Long Island Rail Road signalman convicted of conspiring with co-workers to steal thousands of pounds of copper wire from job sites, is sentenced Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Mineola. He was ordered to pay $6,000 in fines and restitution. (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

A former Long Island Rail Road signalman convicted of conspiring with co-workers to steal thousands of pounds of copper wire from job sites was ordered Tuesday to pay $6,000 in fines and restitution.

Acting State Supreme Court Justice Angelo Delligatti sentenced Michael Carsten, 27, of Massapequa, to a one-year conditional discharge and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine and $5,000 in restitution to the LIRR.

A Mineola jury in November convicted Carsten of fifth-degree conspiracy, a misdemeanor, for his role in the scheme, which netted more than $253,000 over three years.


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Prosecutors said that from January 2010 until January 2013, members of the LIRR communications department's "Gang 30" routinely collected old and new copper wire from job sites to sell for scrap.

Fifteen other defendants -- including 14 other LIRR workers -- have pleaded guilty to crimes and been ordered to pay restitution, attorneys said. Carsten and his LIRR co-defendants have resigned from their jobs.

One defendant, Craig Borsetti, 31, of East Moriches, was acquitted on all charges in November.

Carsten maintained that while he was sometimes assigned to work with the other defendants, he had no role in the theft. But another defendant, Michael Campbell, 33, of Bethpage, testified during the Hempstead trial that he stole LIRR copper with Carsten on several occasions.

Carsten declined to comment. His attorney, John Powers of Deer Park, said his client's conviction "was based solely on the word of a witness that stole tens of thousands of dollars in copper" from the LIRR.

In a statement, LIRR officials thanked investigators and prosecutors and said the railroad "does not tolerate employees who steal from their employer and from taxpayers who support our operation."

In asking for Carsten to serve 90 days in jail, Assistant District Attorney Cristiana McSloy said he "has failed to show any remorse for his actions or accept any responsibility."

But Delligatti disagreed, telling Carsten: "I think you should get on with your life."

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