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Prosecutor: New Jersey MSP CEO, Wife, Children, Slain In Business Feud With Brother

Local prosecutors have launched a financial investigation alongside the homicide probe, saying the killer’s motive was ‘financial in nature’ and stemmed from his and the victim’s joint business ventures.

Business troubles at a family-run Asbury Park, N.J. solution provider and pest control business are behind the Thanksgiving Day killings of the company’s founder, his wife and two children, prosecutors said.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 20, Paul Caneiro, 51, confronted his brother, and business partner Keith Caneiro, 50, outside his Colts Neck, N.J. home, prosecutors said. Paul opened fire with an illegal handgun striking Keith multiple times, killing him, according to prosecutors. Paul Caneiro then allegedly walked into Keith Caneiro’s home where he shot and stabbed his sister-in-law Jennifer Caneiro, and stabbed his nephew Jesse, 11, and niece, Sophia, 8, multiple times.

With the killing done, prosecutors said, Paul Caneiro went to the basement of his brother’s $1.5 million home and lit a fire in an attempt to destroy evidence. Caneiro then drove to his own home and lit two fires against its outside, while his wife slept upstairs, prosecutors said. He was arrested for the arson of his own home that morning, but authorities would battle the fire at his brother’s 5,700-square-foot home until well into the afternoon.

“The defendant intentionally set fire at his own home to both destroy evidence and create the illusion that the overall Caneiro family was somehow victimized or targeted. We allege that was a ruse,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said. “Based on our investigation today we believe the defendant’s motive was financial in nature stemming from his and the victim’s joint business ventures that they owned and operated out of Asbury Park.”

In 1987, Keith Caneiro founded Jay Martin Consulting Inc., which later changed its name to Square One, according to his LinkedIn page. Prosecutors said his brother Paul also worked for him. Keith Caneiro boasted numerous certifications, and says the company has done business with Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Thompson-Reuters, Republic National Bank, Equico, FCB Leber Katz Partners, JWThompson, Leo Burnett, and Lucent Technologies, among others.

“Square One is a full-service technology consulting firm that the best known names in business trust to help them with their technology needs,” the company’s LinkedIn profile states. “We help them with a variety of solutions that take advantage of our industry knowledge, professional services and strategic relationships. We have over twenty years of experience helping people cut through the hype to deliver real results.”

The website for the company appears to be down, and the phone number listed, rings unanswered. A man who works at a business in the same building told CRN that he has seen no one go in or out of the office for several days. Attempts to reach two of the three people listed as employees on LinkedIn were unsuccessful.

CRN reached out to several former Square One employees for comment without success.

Gramiccioni said the brothers also ran a pest control businesses from the same location. His office has launched a financial investigation into the businesses as well as the financial deals of the defendant, he said.

Paul Caneiro is charged with four counts of first degree murder, two counts of aggravated arson, possession of an illegal firearm, and possession of a knife for an unlawful purpose. He was held without bail during an arraignment Friday in New Jersey where he pleaded not guilty. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Following Friday’s court appearance, Caneiro’s lawyer Mitchell Ansell told reporters that his client would never hurt his brother or his brother’s family.

“Paul Caneiro loved his brother, loved his sister-in-law like a sister, and loved those children and would never do anything to harm them,” he said. “There’s no reason on this earth, for him to have harmed them … He maintains that in his view he will be vindicated.”

Caneiro's lawyers have not responded to messages seeking additional comment.

Keith, Jennifer, Jessie, and Sophia Caneiro were laid to rest over the weekend. Their surviving family members released a statement saying they are “grateful for the outpouring of love and support we have received from our devoted family, the faithful friends of Jennifer, Keith, Jesse and Sofia and many other kind individuals from the community and beyond.”

"The passing of these four beautiful people was tragic, sudden and incomprehensible and, like you, we are heartbroken,” the family said. “May we all take comfort in the wonderful memories and incredible moments of joy they gave to all of us.”

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