Spota: Loss of recyclables went undetected

Michael D'Alessandro, 43, of East Patchogue, in front,

Michael D'Alessandro, 43, of East Patchogue, in front, William Stegemann, 55, of Lindenhurst, in the middle, and Joseph DeMatteo, 72, of West Islip, are led out of Third Precinct in Bay Shore. All three are to be arraigned on grand larceny charges, the Suffolk County district attorney's office said. (Aug. 23, 2012) (Credit: James Carbone)

A scheme that prosecutors allege bilked Smithtown out of at least $200,000 worth of paper recyclables went undetected for at least two years by town officials, and Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said Thursday he wants to know why.

Spota said he will subpoena town recycling records to find out how the loss of such a large sum of money was missed and whether additional funds are unaccounted for.

"How does the town employee supervising recycling fail to notice a significant amount of recycled materials is not making it to the Smithtown plant?" Spota said.

William A. Stegemann, 55, of Lindenhurst, and Michael Dalessandro, 43, of East Patchogue, both identified by prosecutors as managers at Jody Enterprises Inc., pleaded not guilty Thursday to grand larceny charges. Stegemann is the company's manager of operations, and Dalessandro is a field supervisor, prosecutors said.

Joseph DeMatteo, 72, of West Islip, the co-owner of DeMatteo Salvage Co., a West Babylon salvage company, also faces grand larceny charges.

They each could each face up to 15 years in prison, Spota said.

Dalessandro was also charged with possession of stolen property, which also carries a maximum jail sentence of 15 years.

DeMatteo and Dalessandro were released Thursday on their own recognizance. Stegemann was released on $10,000 bond.

The two companies also were charged with grand larceny.

Spota said Smithtown contracts with Jody Enterprises to pick up recycled paper and cardboard from residences and take the recyclables to a dump in Kings Park.

Each truckload carries between $1,000 and $1,200 worth of paper and cardboard that can be resold by Smithtown to paper mills, Spota said.

Dalessandro would take truckloads of recyclables to DeMatteo's salvage company after drivers he supervised had collected the refuse, Spota said. He'd then allegedly sell the recycled materials to DeMatteo for $400 to $500 a truckload. Spota said the other drivers are not believed to have been involved.

Dalessandro and Stegemann, the latter described by prosecutors as the "architect" of the plan, split the proceeds, Spota said. DeMatteo then could sell the materials to paper mills at a profit, but Spota did not say how much he made.

DeMatteo declined to comment. His attorney, Steven A. Costantino, of Copiague, said his client "had no knowledge" the recyclables were stolen. Justin M. Block, of Commack, the attorney for Jody Enterprises Inc., denied the allegations and said the company was not aware of any wrongdoing.

Dalessandro and Stegemann's court-appointed attorneys could not be reached for comment after the arraignment. Attorneys representing the two companies also denied the allegations.

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