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Criminal: Case Highlights

The following cases were brought by EPA to address criminal violations across all environmental statutes and/or associated violations of the U.S. Criminal Code. Through the highlighted cases described below, as well as the other criminal enforcement cases concluded in FY 2010, EPA brought environmental criminals to justice, thereby enhancing deterrence and compliance with the law.

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Clean Air

The following cases were brought by EPA to address criminal violations of the Clean Air Act. Examples of significant criminal prosecutions involve hazardous air pollutants such as asbestos, whose exposure can result in serious or fatal respiratory diseases, and smuggling of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS), which are restricted and can only be legally imported when certain conditions are met.

Kroy Corporation/Mar–Cone Appliance Parts (Florida)

photograph of the Cargill Meat plant

Kroy prosecution surveillance photo of HCFC’s

Kroy Corporation, a Florida corporation based in Miami, and James Garrido, the corporation’s president, were sentenced in United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on February 12, 2010 for the unlawful importation of goods including restricted ozone–depleting substances. Kroy and Garrido each pled guilty to knowingly importing approximately 418,654 kilograms of illegal hydrochlorofluorocarbon–22 ("HCFC-22"), in violation of the provisions of the Clean Air Act. Kroy Corporation was sentenced to five years probation. Garrido was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Both Garrido and Kroy Corporation were ordered to pay a criminal fine of $40,000 and to forfeit $1,356,160 to the United States.

This was one of several cases involving the smuggling of HCFC’s investigated through a multi-agency initiative known as Operation Catch–22. In a related case, Mar–Cone Appliance Parts Co., a Missouri corporation with its headquarters in St. Louis, was convicted and sentenced for knowingly receiving, buying, selling and facilitating the transportation, concealment, and sale of approximately 100,898 kilograms of HCFC–22. Mar-cone was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay a $500,000 criminal fine, make a 400,000 payment to the Southern Environmental Enforcement Training Fund, a not–for–profit training organization, implement and enforce a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan, and forfeit to the United States $190,534.70, which represents proceeds received as a result of the crime. Read more on Kroy Corporation (PDF) (2 pp, 24K)

Kodiak Construction Services (New York)

Brothers Paul and Steven Mancuso, and their father Lester, were sentenced in United States District Court for the District of New York on June 12, 2010, for multiple violations of asbestos–related environmental laws including the Clean Air Act. Paul Mancuso was sentenced to 78 months in prison, three years of probation and a $20,000 fine. Steven Mancuso was sentenced to 44 months in prison and three years of probation. Lester Mancuso was sentenced to 36 months in prison and three years of probation. In October 2009, a jury found brothers, Paul and Steven Mancuso guilty of conspiring to defraud the United States, violating the Clean Air Act’s asbestos–related regulations, illegally dumping asbestos in Poland, New York and committing mail fraud. Lester Mancuso pleaded guilty the day before the trial started. Ronald Mancuso, brother to Paul and Steven, cooperated with the investigation and prosecution. Ronald was sentenced in United States District Court for the District of New York on July 29, 2010, and received three years probation. Read more on Kodiak Construction Services (PDF) (2 pp, 23K)

Kinder Morgan (Florida)

evidence of disrepair at the Kinder Morgan plant

Evidence of disrepair at the Kinder Morgan Manatee facility

Kinder Morgan Port Manatee Terminal LLC ("Kinder Morgan"), a dry bulk material handling and storage facility was sentenced to pay $1 million for violating the Clean Air Act. $250,000 will go to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to fund remediation and restoration projects in Manatee County. The court also placed Kinder Morgan on probation for two years, during which it must adhere to a stringent environmental compliance plan.

The company had pleaded guilty pursuant to a written plea agreement. Kinder Morgan managers falsely certified that its baghouse air pollutant control systems, which trap, filter and separate the particulate matter in order to minimize its release into the air, was working properly when it was not. Read more on Kinder Morgan (PDF) (2 pp, 60K)

Calvin Burks (Missouri)

Calvin Burks, the owner of J & C Environmental Services, Incorporated, St. Louis, who conducts asbestos inspections in the St. Louis metropolitan area, was sentenced to one year in prison for creating a fictitious asbestos inspection report on a building to be demolished in the City of St. Louis. From approximately April 2008 through May 2009, Burks performed over 100 asbestos inspections of buildings in the City of St. Louis that were to be demolished and charged a fee for the inspection and the analysis of suspect asbestos material. Approximately 108 of the inspection reports Burks provided to the demolition contractors and/or building owners contained sample analysis which were on letterhead of Precision Analysis Testing Laboratory in St. Louis, even though Precision Analysis had not conducted the asbestos analysis or testing. Burks copied the Precision Analysis letterhead from a previous job and falsified the additional information provided in the approximately 108 reports, including the sample analysis of suspect asbestos material. Burks charged approximately $150 for the fraudulent inspections and sampling analysis, which were then relied on by building contractors and owners when submitting asbestos NESHAP (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants) notification of demolition and renovation to the City of St. Louis. Read more on Calvin Burks (PDF) (1 pg, 28K)

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Clean Water

The following cases were brought by EPA to address criminal violations of the Clean Water Act and other water-related statutes, such as the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. Examples of significant criminal prosecution involve wastewater discharges, oil spills, or disposal of contaminated dredge materials into U.S. waters, and dumping of waste oil by commercial marine vessels at sea or in coastal waters.

McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company (Alabama)

photograph of a truck driving through the McWane facility

Truck driving through McWane Cast Iron Facility

McWane Inc., one of the largest cast iron manufacturers in the country, pleaded guilty in federal district court in Birmingham, Alabama, for environmental crimes that occurred at its Birmingham facility, McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company. This was the fifth criminal prosecution of a McWane facility since 2005. McWane was sentenced to pay a criminal fine of $4 million and serve a five–year term of probation after pleading guilty to nine felony counts of knowingly violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). James Delk, the former general manager and vice president of the Birmingham plant, pleaded guilty to eight counts of negligently violating the Clean Water Act. Additionally, former plant manager Michael Devine pleaded guilty to five counts of negligently violating the Clean Water Act. Read more on McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company (PDF) (2 pp, 43K)

Cosco Busan (California)

photograph of the Cargill Meat plant

Damage to the vessel and the result to wildlife in the San Francisco Bay

Fleet Management paid a $10 million fine and implemented an Enhanced Compliance Program for its fleet of ships after one of its vessels, the Cosco Busan, crashed into the San Francisco Bay Bridge and discharged approximately 53,000 gallons of oil into San Francisco Bay in violation of the Clean Water Act, as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

John Joseph Cota, the ship’s pilot, was sentenced to ten months imprisonment and one year probation after pleading guilty to negligently causing the collision. Read more on Fleet Management/Cosco Busan/John Cota (PDF) (3 pp, 82K)

Brusco Tug and Barge (California)

photograph of the Cargill Meat plant

The barge operations in progress

Mark Guinn, an employee of Brusco Tug and Barge, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to serve 200 hours of community service related to the environment for conspiring to violate the Clean Water Act. He participated in the routine discharge of large amounts of contaminated and toxic dredged spoils into San Francisco Bay instead of properly offloading the material on Winter Island. The dumping of a barge would take minutes, while properly offloading the dredged spoils onto Winter Island would take 12–18 hours. Some of the barges involved in the dumping could hold almost one million gallons of contaminated spoils. In FY 2009 Brusco Tug and Barge was sentenced to pay a total monetary payment of $1.5 million, with $750,000 to be paid as a fine, and $250,000 to be paid to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation to fund environmental projects relating to marine and coastal habitats and watersheds in the Bay Area. Read more on Mark Guinn/Brusco Tug and Barge (PDF) (2 pp, 81K)

Irika Shipping (Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Washington)

Irika Shipping S.A., a ship management corporation registered in Panama and doing business in Greece, was sentenced to pay a $4 million penalty, which includes a $3 million criminal fine and $1 million in organizational community service payments that will fund various marine environmental projects. The company previously pled to a multi–district plea agreement arising out of charges brought in the District of Maryland, Western District of Washington, and Eastern District of Louisiana, including felony violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, related to port calls in Baltimore, Tacoma, Washington, and New Orleans by the M/V Iorana, and obstruction of justice charges based upon false statements to the Coast Guard, destruction of evidence and other acts of concealment resulting from the dumping of waste oil overboard through a bypass hose that circumvented pollution prevention equipment. Read more on Irika Shipping (PDF) (3 pp, 38K)

Daniel Cason (Georgia)

Daniel Webster Cason, the former Public Works Director for the City of Harlem, Georgia, who was responsible for the operation of that city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, was sentenced to imprisonment for 12 months and a day on his convictions for violations of the Clean Water Act. On March 31, 2009, Cason entered guilty pleas to three counts of making false statements in records and reports regarding the Treatment Plant’s measurements of fecal coliform and biochemical oxygen demand. He knowingly caused pumping with a portable pump from the Treatment Plant into the Uchee Creek tributary located adjacent to the Treatment Plant, without a permit. Carson was also fined $3,000. Read more on Daniel Cason (PDF) (2 pp, 85K)

Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation (Colorado)

photograph of the Cargill Meat plant

Daily wastewater runoff at the Cargill Meat Solutions facility in Fort Morgan, Colorado.

Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation, which operates a meat packing plant located in Fort Morgan, Colorado, was sentenced to pay a $200,000 fine after pleading guilty to two negligent violations of the Clean Water Act. The plant processes approximately 5,000 head of cattle and generates about 1,500,000 gallons of wastewater daily. A wastewater treatment plant is located on site to remove pollutants such as feces, dirt, and meat scraps from the wastewater that is discharged to the South Platte River. On one occasion in October 2003, the facility discharged wastewater that was above permitted limits for fecal coliform. On a separate occasion in July 2004, a wastewater sample revealed that Cargill had exceeded permitted limits for total suspended solids. Under an administrative agreement with the EPA, the company also will implement a compliance plan which will include additional staff training, making mechanical upgrades to its wastewater treatment operation, and reassigning personnel who were responsible for the violations. Under this agreement, any further violations will subject Cargill to possible sanctions, including debarment from federal contracts. Read more on Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation (PDF) (2 pp, 51K)

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Waste and Chemical

The following cases were brought by EPA to address criminal violations of the federal waste and chemical statutes. Examples of significant criminal prosecutions involve illegal storage and disposal of mercury, plating wastes, and perchloroethylene, as well as illegal use of pesticides which killed endangered or protected wildlife.

Southern Union Company (Rhode Island)

photograph of the Southern Union site

Southern Union site of stored mercury waste

The Southern Union Company was sentenced to pay a total of $18 million for illegally storing mercury at a company–owned site in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, including a $6 million criminal fine and $12 million in payments of various amounts to community initiatives, including the Rhode Island Foundation, the DEM Emergency Response Fund, and Hasbro Children’s Hospital. In 2008, a jury in Providence found Southern Union guilty of illegally storing mercury for several years at a site near the Seekonk River. The Houston–based company owned New England Gas for several years. In 2001, Southern Union began removing from customers’ homes gas regulators that contained mercury and initially hired an environmental services company to prepare the mercury for shipment to a processing facility in Pennsylvania. Although the recycling and reclamation of the mercury ceased at the end of 2001, gas company technicians continued to remove regulators from customers’ homes, and the company continued to store at Tidewater Street both loose liquid mercury – in containers such as glass jars and a plastic jug – and regulators that still contained mercury. In September 2004 three youths broke into the mercury storage building and took several containers of liquid mercury. They broke some of them, spilling mercury around the facility’s grounds, and took some of the mercury to a nearby apartment complex, where it was also spilled, contaminating the complex. For about three weeks, spilled mercury remained undetected at the facility and at the apartment complex. After the contamination was discovered, the apartment complex was evacuated, and its 150 tenants were displaced for two months while the mercury was cleaned up. (Note: the case is currently on appeal.) Read more on South Union Company (PDF) (2 pp, 32K)

Mills Plating (West Virginia)

photograph of illegally stored waste materials

Hazardous wastes stored in open pails at the Mills Plating facility

Christopher Mills was sentenced to serve 18 months’ incarceration (with credit for time served) and Rodney Hoffman was sentenced to 30 months in prison after both pleaded guilty to storing hazardous wastes, including solvents, heavy metals, and sulfuric and chromic acids, at the facility without a permit from October 2006 through February 2007.

Mills and Hoffman were also held jointly and severally liable for $133,000 in restitution to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for cleanup costs. The hazardous waste, stored in open containers and vats, were abandoned at the shop when the plating operation moved. Read more on Mills Plating (PDF) (2 pp, 79K)

Stephen Swift (Hawaii)
Jerome Anches

photograph of the Cargill Meat plant

Leaking drums at the Martin Warehouse and Storage facility

Stephen Swift was sentenced to 24 months in prison for two counts of transporting hazardous waste (perchloroethylene or "perc") without a manifest and 27 months imprisonment for one count of storing the perchloroethylene without a permit on his property in Waianae, Hawaii, from February 2005 until the EPA seized it for destruction on May 16, 2008. He was also fined $7,500. Martin Warehousing and Storage, a company based at Sand Island, had a perc spill at its property on August 14, 2001. The company’s owner, Jerome Anches, did not initially have the wastes transported to the mainland for destruction; instead, he left it in an unused portion of the property. Finally, in February Anches hired Swift to transport the hazardous waste to the mainland for proper disposal. Instead, Swift moved the hazardous waste to his undeveloped property in Waianae where it remained until the EPA learned of it on May 16, 2008. Anches also pled guilty to storing the hazardous waste without a permit from the time of the spill until Swift removed it, and was sentenced to a term of five years of probation, received a $300,000 fine, and was ordered to immediately pay $84,000 to reimburse the EPA for the costs in cleaning up the hazardous waste on the Waianae site. Read more on Stephen Swift/Jerome Anches (PDF) (3 pp, 103K)

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Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)

Richard Bee (Ohio)

Richard A. Bee was sentenced to pay almost $25,000 after pleading guilty to illegally using the pesticide Furadan in a way that resulted in the death of 16 migratory birds on farmland he leased near Bethel, Ohio. He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of misuse of a registered pesticide and two misdemeanor counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. His sentence includes an $18,000 fine, one year of probation, and a community service payment of $6,250 to the Animal Rescue Fund, Inc., which operates a shelter for homeless animals including birds near Amelia, Ohio. Bee operated a feed crop farm and had observed various birds eating the seeds he planted as part of farming operations. In April 2008 and again in April 2009, Bee poured Furadan into a bucket of corn with the intent of using the Furadan–soaked corn as bait and placed the bucket in the fields with the intent of killing the birds. On or about June 1, 2009, a total of 16 birds were found dead in the vicinity of one Bee’s bait stations. The 16 birds included two Canada Geese, one American Crow, two Mallard Ducks, seven Mourning Doves, one Red–tailed Hawk, and three birds that were too decomposed to identify. Read more on Richard Bee (PDF) (1 pg, 44K)

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Cross-Media/U.S. Criminal Code

The following cases cover more than one environmental statute and/or violations of Title 18, the U.S. Criminal Code, such as conspiracy, false statements, mail and wire fraud, racketeering, and obstruction of justice, that are often associated with environmental crimes. The final decisions regarding the specific counts to which a defendant is charged or pleads guilty are made by the Department of Justice.

Larkin Baggett (Utah, Florida)

Larkin Baggett, 54, formerly of Salt Lake City, Utah, was sentenced in the United States District Court in Key West, Florida to 20 years in prison for illegally dumping pollutants in violation of federal clean water and hazardous waste regulations and for illegally possessing firearms and aggravated assault on law enforcement officers. This includes the maximum jail term for the Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act violations. (Baggett's sentence is currently on appeal.)

Last March, Baggett assaulted EPA and other law enforcement officers when they attempted to arrest him in Marathon, Florida. Baggett formally owned and operated Chemical Consultants, Inc., North Salt Lake City, Utah, a company that mixed and sold chemical products used in the trucking, construction, and concrete industries. In September 2007, Baggett was indicted on charges related to illegally dumping various pollutants onto the ground and into a drain that led to the treatment plant operated by the South Davis Sewer Improvement District in West Bountiful, Utah, between October 2004 and April 2005. In April 2008, two months before his trial, Baggett became a fugitive when he failed to appear in court, as required by the conditions of his release and bond. In December 2008, EPA received a tip from the public regarding his potential whereabouts after Baggett was listed on EPA’s fugitive web site. Read more on Larkin Baggett

David Lester Becker
Ken-Dec, Inc. (Kentucky)

photograph of the sink and hose used to violate environmental laws

Sink and rubber hose used for illegal discharges at the KEN–DEC plant

KEN–DEC, Inc., a metal plating business in Kentucky, and David Lester Becker, a former KEN–DEC plant manager were sentenced in federal court in Kentucky on June 7, 2010, for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Resource and Recovery Act. KEN–DEC was sentenced to a $700,000 fine and Becker was sentenced to 18 months in prison and two years of supervised release. KEN–DEC and Becker, the responsible corporate official, from July 2007 to January 2009 violated the CWA by discharged electroplating waste into a sink connected to the sewage system in Horse Cave, Kentucky. They violated RCRA by disposing of hazardous waste through a hose outside its facility at 1145 South Dixie Street, Horse Cave, Kentucky. KEN–DEC and Becker pleaded guilty in federal court in the Western District of Kentucky on February 1, 2010. CWA authorizes EPA to establish pretreatment standards before industrial users discharge wastewater into the sewer system. KEN–DEC and Becker violated CWA by discharging wastewater with excessive metals concentrations into a sink connected to the City of Horse Cave’s Publicly Owned Treatment Works without a permit. They violated RCRA by disposing of spent cyanide plating bath solution, a listed hazardous waste, through a hose outside its facility without a permit. Read more on Ken–Dec/David Becker (PDF) (2 pp, 41K)

 


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