NEW YORK -- A federal judge sentenced three men to prison terms Wednesday for committing one of the largest environmental crimes ever prosecuted in the country, officials said.
U.S. District Court Judge Constance Baker Motley sentenced both Angelo Paccione, 51, of Staten Island, and Anthony Vulpis, 39, of Queens, to 12 years and seven months in prison.
The two were in prison at the time of the sentencing, said Otto Obermaier, U.S. attorney for the Southern District.
John McDonald, 48, of Demarest, N.J., was sentenced to a year in prison and fined $250,000.
Vulpis, Paccione and six of the largest private carting companies in the metropolitan area were convicted June 8 under the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act after a three-month trial.
They were found guilty of operating 'an enormous illegal landfill,' more than 70 acres in size, at a site in Staten Island known as the Old Arlington Railroad Park, said prosecutors who handled the case.
Approximately 50 private carting companies dumped garbage, asbestos, construction debris, and medical and infectious waste at the site every day for four months until law enforcement officers stopped them Sept. 15, 1988.
Federal prosecutors estimated that approximately 500,000 cubic yards of garbage and other waste materials were dumped at the site during that period.
Motley called their offenses part of a 'highly complex scheme that was well thought out by the defendants.'
The jury found that Paccione and Vulpis defrauded the city of approximately $9. million in lost dumping fees, and cost CSX Transportation, which owns the railroad yard, $10 million in lost value due to the illegal dumping. The cost of cleaning up the site was estimated at $15 million.
The site of the illegal landfill has been designated by the state Department of Environmental Conservation as an inactive hazardous waste site.