Gabriel Nortesano, the owner of a New York City heating oil company, pleaded guilty Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court to using an ingenious scheme to defraud thousands of customers by shorting deliveries and selling diverted oil on the side for a $2 million profit.
Nortesano, of Staten Island, the owner of G&D Heating Oil, equipped his trucks with bypass valves that allowed drivers to pump some of the oil back into their trucks but print out billing tickets for a full delivery, prosecutors said.
He was accused of telling drivers which customers to short and by how much, and compensating drivers based on how much oil they were able to steal. From 2010 to 2013, he allegedly oversaw the theft of 800,000 gallons of heating oil in the five boroughs and its sale on the black market.
Nortesano pleaded guilty to enterprise corruption. He faces a likely 3- to 9-year prison term at his Feb. 7 sentencing. He was a key player in a wide-ranging heating oil industry scam that triggered charges against 40 individuals and six companies, with 15 guilty pleas so far, prosecutors said.
“He admitted his guilt,” said defense lawyer Joe Conway. “He’s very remorseful and he’s trying to put this behind him.”