Firm owner charged with abandoning hazardous oil trucks on Brooklyn streets
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens on Friday announced a felony indictment against Patrick McAteer of Morganville, N.J., and Roberto Iengo of Queens for their role in the abandoning five tanker trailers filled with thousands of gallons of waste oil substances. The men face up to 15 years in prison.
“This crime was particularly insidious. To dodge the costs of doing business and gain a competitive advantage, the defendants deliberately circumvented environmental laws, endangering city residents and their homes,” Attorney General Schneiderman said.
According to the indictment, from January 2012 to March 2012, McAteer drove stolen tanker trailers from New Jersey to a business owned by Iengo, ABC Tank Repair & Lining Inc., at 280 East 88th St. in Canarsie. There, Iengo, 43, ordered his employees to fill the empty tankers with heavy, sludgy waste oil that had been collected and stored at the commercial facility for years.
Iengo paid McAteer $1,500 per tanker to drive the waste oil-laden vehicles to random locations in Brooklyn and abandon them on public streets in Canarsie, Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope and Kensington.
By law, the disposal of hazardous substances is closely regulated by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Even small releases of petroleum and other hazardous substances have the potential to endanger the public health and contaminate groundwater, surface water and soil. Additionally, vapors from spilled materials can collect in houses and businesses, creating fire and explosion hazards.
McAteer later admitted to investigators that between December 2011 and March 2012, he stole several empty tanker trailers, from truck lots in New Jersey. Iengo told McAteer that he had waste oil that he needed to dispose of, and he offered McAteer money to make the waste oil “disappear.”
McAteer also admitted that he abandoned the stolen waste-oil filled tankers in Brooklyn. Iengo told investigators that he was trying to save money by enlisting McAteer to dispose of old, thick waste oil that had been sitting in his business warehouse for several years.
The grand jury charged both McAteer and Iengo with numerous felonies, including criminal possession of stolen property, unauthorized use of a vehicle, endangering public health and more.