Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Long Island Man Suspected Of Embezzling As Much As $10 Million From Local HVAC Company Apparently Commits Suicide

From the Riverhead News-Review on 2/4/2015:

Riverhead Police said a man under house arrest for allegedly embezzling over $10 million from his family’s West Babylon business was found dead in his house Wednesday morning in an apparent suicide.

Riverhead Police said in a statement that around 9:30 a.m., police and Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps were called to the scene of the house, located at Kerry Court. A subsequent investigation identified Mr. Simonelli, 55, as the deceased.

Chief David Hegermiller said Wednesday morning he did not believe there were any signs of foul play related to the death and detectives later said the deceased was believed to have committed suicide.

Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office arrived on scene at the Kerry Court house around noon on Wednesday.

The property is listed as belonging to Mr. Simonelli, the man previously accused of stealing $10 million from his family’s HVAC company.

Mr. Simonelli was released under house arrest on $750,000 bond last December.
Calls to both Mr. Simonelli’s lawyer and the lawyer of his family’s company were not immediately returned.

Original story from the Riverhead News-Review on 11/13/2014:

A Calverton man is being held without bail in a Nassau County jail after he was arrested by FBI agents Wednesday on charges he stole upwards of $10 million from his family-run heating and air-conditioning company in West Babylon.

Joseph Simonelli, who lives in Calverton and owns a thoroughbred horse farm on Mill Road that’s run by his stepdaughter, is facing up to 14 years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, according to court records and a criminal complaint filed in Eastern District court.

Mr. Simonelli was arraigned Wednesday in Central Islip and ordered held without bail, with a federal judge determining he was a threat to the community over allegations he had threatened to shoot his sister, who is also a business partner, said Joseph Conway of Mineola, an attorney for the family’s HVAC company, FW Sims, Inc.

The profitable and prominent contractor has done work at 1 World Trade Center and Yankee Stadium, Mr. Conway said.

Both Mr. Conway and the criminal complaint described an embezzlement scheme dating “as far back as 2008″ that involved false billings issued to FW Sims, Inc. from fictitious companies.

Mr. Simonelli, an executive vice president and director for the company, would allegedly issue the false payments, direct the money to his own bank accounts and elsewhere and provide a 5 to 10 percent kickback to co-conspirators.

No other arrests were made in the case, though Mr. Conway said prosecutors are still investigating.

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