Calverton man charged with stealing millions released on house arrest

12/04/2014 5:11 PM |
Serendipity Farm's horse barn was built in 2012 in Riverhead on Mill Road. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Serendipity Farm’s horse barn was built in 2012 in Riverhead on Mill Road. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

A Calverton man who has been accused of stealing more than $10 million from his family-run heating and air-conditioning company has been released from jail while he awaits trial, his attorney confirmed Thursday.

Joseph Simonelli, who also owns a thoroughbred horse farm on Mill Road in Riverhead, was released Monday on $750,000 bond, said the attorney, Michael Cornacchia. 

Mr. Simonelli’s bond was secured by his and his daughter’s home, Mr. Cornacchia said, adding that while released on bond, Mr. Simonelli is being confined to his home and tracked by an ankle bracelet.

The Calverton man was originally held without bail and faces up to 14 years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, according to court records and a criminal complaint filed in U.S. Eastern District Court.

Authorities — including an attorney for the family’s HVAC company, FW Sims, Inc. — say Mr. Simonelli took part in an embezzlement scheme dating back to 2008 that diverted money from the company using false bills.

Mr. Simonelli, an executive vice president and director for the company, would allegedly direct the money to his own and other bank accounts.

Joseph Conway, the FW Sims, Inc attorney, said Mr. Simonelli had likely stolen “closer to $25 million” from the company while the alleged scheme was in operation. Some of that money was allegedly used to build the horse farm on Mill Road in Riverhead, called Serendipity.

The News-Review last month confirmed with federal authorities a report that Mr. Simonelli had confessed to the allegations.

According to the criminal complaint, Mr. Simonelli also had threatened his siblings, including a recorded threat in which Mr. Simonelli said he could use a gun to harm his siblings.

Prosecutors alleged Mr. Simonelli could be heard saying he “could show up, pop [the sister] in the [f–in’] head, walk away … and never [f—in’] go to jail, cuz no one even knows I got the [f—in’] gun.”

Mr. Simonelli had recently received a pistol license.

Mr. Conway told the News-Review Thursday that the family could “has some comfort,” with the release since Mr. Simonelli is being tracked and will remain in his home.

His next court date is in January, Mr. Cornacchia said.

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With Michael White