(March 3, 10:29 a.m.) Joseph Diorio has been convicted on conspiracy, money laundering and theft charges stemming from a 1999 scheme that cost his company’s creditors about $2 million.

Diorio was convicted after a monthlong trial in Monmouth County, said Peter Aseltine, spokesman for the New Jersey Attorney General’s office. The 46-year-old Diorio, who has two prior convictions, could face life in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 25.

Aseltine said co-defendants Michael Fava and David Menadier both accepted plea agreements and testified against Diorio. Fava faces seven to 10 years in state prison, and Menadier faces five to seven years.


Aseltine said the three men ran Packed Fresh Produce Inc. out of an unrefrigerated warehouse in Lodi, N.J., and gave business contacts a Mail Boxes Etc. box in Lincroft, N.J., as their mailing address. The men ran a scheme in which they bought produce on credit and sold it while planning to file for bankruptcy without paying their creditors, suppliers and shippers.

Aseltine said some of the produce was sold to vendors on the Hunts Point Terminal Market.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the company for failing to pay a $603,319 reparation award owed to a California shipper under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act in July 2000. In August 2000, the company was sited for owing 12 sellers more than $1.6 million for 143 lots of perishable agricultural commodities purchased from October 1999 through January 2000. By July 2001, the company’s PACA license had been revoked.

Aseltine said creditors lost about $2 million, and representatives of victims from California, Arizona, Missouri and Illinois traveled to New Jersey to testify in the trial.