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Ex-con admits trying to shake down building contractor

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST : Whether he had the money coming mattered little when Peter Rinaldi of Bayonne threatened to kill another contractor — after having someone bash him in the head with a bat — if he didn’t pay him $60,000.

Peter Rinaldi

Rinaldi, 45, pleaded guilty today in federal court in Newark to extortion conspiracy in connection with a reign of terror recorded by investigators.

The dispute arose two years ago over money Rinaldi claimed was owed him for subcontracting work on a Bayonne condominium development, court records show.

The bat attack put the victim in the hospital, after which he received a series of calls from Rinaldi on a disposable phone, federal prosecutors said.

“You think it’s a f—–g game?” Rinaldi asked on the recorded call a year ago next week. “There ain’t no f—–g cops and there ain’t no feds that are gonna help you this time.”

Federal investigators said Rinaldi — who already had a criminal record for theft and assault — told the victim to bring a check payable to his company to a Bayonne restaurant, place it on the counter and leave.

“I don’t give a f–k who’s listening to this conversation, OK?” he said. “I’m telling you on my kids, if you anything foolish…there’s people in front of your house right now.”

The victim did as he was told as investigators watched. When a restaurant employee came out and tried giving Rinaldi the envelope, federal prosecutors said, Rinaldi told him to destroy it. So he ripped it up and threw it down a toilet.

Rinaldi remains under house arrest pending sentencing, scheduled for April 21.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman credited FBI agents and Bayonne police for building the case, which was prepared by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Moscato of federal Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.

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