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1995-1998 Enforcement Actions under Title VI of the Clean Air Act

Past Enforcement Cases

1995-1998 | 1999-2001 | 2002-2004 | 2005-2007 | Present |

March 26, 1999: Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program Highlights FY 1998 Efforts
EPA announced today that 266 criminal cases were referred to the Department of Justice and $92.8 million in criminal fines were assessed in fiscal year 1998.
September 17, 1998: Failure to Use Certified Technicians
The EPA announced that it has filed Administrative Complaints against several companies in the Southeast as part of a nationwide enforcement initiative under the Federal Clean Air Act as it pertains to the use of CFCs.
August, 1998: Failure to Use Certified Technicians or Approved Equipment
Granite Falls, NC-based Valley Chevrolet-Geo was ordered by an EPA administrative law judge to pay a penalty of $34,2254 for violations of the Clean Air Act. An EPA Administrative Penalty Order has alleged that Valley Chevrolet-Geo failed to use certified technicians as well as the proper recycling or recovery equipment while handling CFC-containing refrigerants. EPA acted on a tip from a former Valley employee, and conducted an investigation of the company's ozone- depleting refrigerant handling practices at its body shop and service facility. This investigation resulted in the issuance of an administrative Penalty Order. After both sides were unable to reach an agreement on the matter, EPA was granted a motion for an accelerated decision on liability and penalty.
August, 1998: Failure to Respond to Information Request
EPA Region 5 recently filed an administrative complaint against R&M Appliance Service, Inc. of Bridgeview, IL, for alleged clean air violations.
August 4, 1998: SNAP Violations and Failure to Maintain Equipment Certification
On August 4, EPA cited ICOR International, Inc. for alleged violations of stratospheric ozone regulations.
July 31, 1998: Venting CFC-12
Randy Lee Christensen pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles of violating the Clean Air Act. Christensen admitted to illegally venting CFC-12 into the atmosphere at the Santa Anna, CA-based C&C Distribution. The illegal venting took place when Christensen installed the replacement refrigerant HC-12a, which EPA has prohibited as a replacement for CFC-12 in auto air-conditioners, into automobile air conditioning systems. Christensen could serve up to five years in prison and be fined as much as $250,000.
July 23, 1998: Region 7 Announces Complaints Against Nine Businesses
EPA Region 7, Kansas City, Kansas, announces filing complaints against nine businesses in the auto service sector with proposed penalties totaling $65,696 for installing an unacceptable refrigerant.
July 17, 1998: Two Texas Men Admit to CFC Smuggling
Ernesto Medina and Antonio Medina of Brownsville, Texas, and their company Medina Forwarding Corp., also of Brownsville, all pleaded guilty on July 13, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston to violating the Clean Air Act.
July 10, 1998: California Man Pleads Guilty to CFC Smuggling
Jack S. Katzman of Yucaipa, Calif., pleaded guilty on June 29 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles to violating the Clean Air Act by smuggling CFC-12 into the United States from Mexico. Katzman admitted that he used his business, Aire-Right's Air Conditioning and Heating Supplies in Yucaipa, to receive, conceal, and sell 30 pound cylinders of CFC-12.
April 3, 1998: Florida Man to Pay Penalty for Illegal CFC Imports
On March 23, Joseph Kodel, of Miami, Fla., was ordered by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami to pay a $6,334,000 penalty for evasion of excise taxes and was also ordered to resolve all his civil tax liabilities. Kodel's company, Florida Motor Oil Distributors Inc., (FMOD) violated federal law by not possessing CFC consumption allowances that are required under federal law, and by not paying more than $6 million in federal CFC excise taxes. In addition, he was sentenced to twelve months home confinement and placed on three years probation. Kodel previously pleaded guilty to charges that arose from the illegal distribution of over 1,297,695 pounds of CFC-12.
March 24, 1998: Philadelphia Office Enforcement Summary
This press release describes recent enforcement efforts by EPA's regional office in Philadelphia.
March 24, 1998: Last RCS Conspirator Sentenced to Prison
Herman E. Brodzenski, last of the defendants in the prosecution against Refrigerant Certification Services, Inc., was sentenced to 12 months incarceration in a federal prison facility followed by a three year term of supervised release. Brodzenski also must perform 400 hours of community service while on supervised release and he must donate $5,000 to "Habitat for Community".
March 19, 1998: EPA Fines All Star Rebuilders, Inc. $8,400 for Illegal use of HC-12a® and Orders Honolulu Hotels to Stop Using It
All Star Rebuilders, Inc., of Fresno, Calif., has agreed to pay a penalty of $8,400 to settle an alleged Clean Air Act violation involving the use of a flammable refrigerant, HC-12a®, as a replacement for CFC-12, in the air conditioning units in buses that it repaired in Fresno, Calif. EPA also issued orders to three Honolulu hotels to stop using the substance, which is also sold under the brand names Duracool, OZ-12®, and EC-12a, in food and beverage refrigeration equipment.
February 20, 1998: Five Plead Guilty to CFC Importation Scheme
On Feb. 17, R. Colin Dayton, and his two companies Refrigerant Management Services Inc. (RMS) of Bryn Mawr, Pa., and R&C Sales of Boca Raton, Fla., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh to conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act (CAA) and one count of unlawful monetary transactions. RMS also agreed to forfeit $688,000. In addition, Christopher Farnham of Deerfield Beach, Fla. also pleaded guilty to the CAA conspiracy and unlawful monetary transaction charges. Richard Pelati of Belle Meade, N.J., pleaded guilty to the CAA conspiracy charges.
January 26, 1998: EPA Cites U.S. Mint For Clean Air Act Violations
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has cited the U. S. Treasury for Clean Air Act violations at the United States Mint in Philadelphia. In the administrative complaint issued January 23, 1998, EPA charges the Mint violated regulations governing the emission of chromium compounds and CFCs. EPA seeks a $129,400 penalty for these violations.
January 21, 1998: Scrap Metal Company to Pay For CFC Violations
EPA today announced that S.D. Richman Sons Inc., a Philadelphia scrap metal company, will pay a $30,000 penalty for violating regulations on the disposal of equipment containing CFCs. EPA's administrative complaint alleged that the company failed to verify the proper disposal of CFCs in six refrigerators at the scrap metal yard, located at 2435 Wheatsheaf Lane. In a January 15, 1998 settlement agreement, the company agreed to pay the penalty and certified that it is now in compliance with federal CFC regulations.
January 21, 1998: EPA Reduces Penalty for Refrigeration Company That Voluntarily Disclosed CFC Violations
EPA announced today that it has agreed to dramatically reduce the penalty assessed against a West Virginia company that voluntarily reported its Clean Air Act violations to the agency.
December 3, 1997: U.S. EPA Settles Cases with Foam Molders in California, Nevada
The EPA today announced that two plastic foam molding facilities, Universal Urethane Inc. of North Las Vegas, Nev., and Foam Molders & Specialties (FMS) of Cerritos, Calif., have agreed to pay penalties of $15,000 each to settle alleged violations of the Clean Air Act involving use of an ozone-depleting substance in the manufacture of plastic foam products.
December 1, 1997: Tower Central Fined for Clean Air Act Violations
Tower Central, Inc., a Wheeling, W.Va. company, was ordered to pay a penalty of $25,363 for violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements designed to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. A citizen's tip that Tower was repairing motor vehicle air conditioners (MVACs) without the proper equipment led to the EPA's investigation.
November 7, 1997: Dennis R. O'Meara Convicted of Selling Impure Recycled CFC Refrigerant
On November 4, in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, Dennis R. O'Meara became the first person to be convicted under the Clean Air Act of selling improperly recycled CFCs. O'Meara, president of Omega Refrigerant Reclamation Corp. of Whittier and Irwindale, California, sold the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power 2,600 pounds of recycled CFC refrigerants that did not meet the level of purity prescribed by federal law. The company had been certified as a refrigerant reclaimer by EPA since approximately 1993. When sentenced, O'Meara faces a maximum of up to five years in federal prison and/or a maximum fine of $250,000. The case was jointly investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigations Division, the U.S. Customs Service, the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Los Angeles County Fire Department with assistance from EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center.
October 7, 1997: Illegal Imports
On October 7, Larry Joseph LeBlanc and Ann Marie LeBlanc of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine in Bangor in connection with the illegal importation of 75 tons of CFC refrigerants into the U.S. Larry LeBlanc admitted to seven counts of violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) and seven counts of customs violations. Ann Marie LeBlanc admitted to three CAA violations. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Customs Service, Canada Customs Service and Environment Canada.
September 12, 1997: California Men Charged For Installing HC-12a®
In one of the first criminal prosecutions of its kind, felony Clean Air Act charges were filed on September 3, in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, against Dennis Henkel and Glenn Shortt of NBM Distributing in Twenty-nine Palms, California, and Randy Christensen of C&C Distribution in Costa Mesa, Calif. The men allegedly installed a flammable refrigerant known as " HC-12a®" in the air conditioners of motor vehicles. Because of its potentially high fire risk, HC-12a® (listed as Hydrocarbon Blend B in the Federal Register ) is listed by EPA as an unacceptable substitute for the ozone-depleting refrigerant gas CFC-12 in automotive air conditioning systems. This case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the California Bureau of Automotive Repair with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center.
September 12, 1997: Issuing False Technician Certifications Leads to Guilty Plea
Charles Warren Joseph of Houston, Texas admitted to participating in a scheme that resulted in approximately 100 false CFC technician certificates being issued between June 1994 and November 1995. His co-conspirator, Herman Brodzenski of Canton, Ohio, pleaded guilty to charges on June 19.
September 5, 1997: President of Refrigeration U.S.A. Sentenced
On August 29, Roland Wood of North Miami Beach, Fla., was sentenced to serve 37 months in prison and three years supervised release and was ordered to pay a $375,000 fine by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami. As part of his guilty plea, Wood will forfeit over $13 million in assets including: property in Miami valued in excess of $1.5 million; 11,200 thirty-pound cylinders of CFCs worth over $6.7 million; almost $5 million in illegal proceeds held in European Banks; an apartment in London valued at $395,000 and stock in a local bank worth over $80,000. Wood, President of Refrigeration U.S.A. of Hallandale, Fla., previously pleaded guilty to illegally diverting 4,000 tons of ozone-depleting CFC refrigerants into commerce in the United States. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Customs Service and the Internal Revenue Service.
August 29, 1997: Refrigeration U.S.A. Corp. Fined $37 million
On August 22, Refrigeration U.S.A. Corp., of Miami and Hallandale, Florida, was sentenced to pay a fine of $37,372,826 and serve five years probation in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Lisa Salazar of Pembroke Pines, Fla., the bookkeeper/ salesperson for Refrigeration U.S.A., was sentenced to five years probation and a fine of $15,000 and Diana McNally of North Miami, the corporation's chief financial officer, was sentenced to 30 days in prison, three years supervised release and must also pay a fine of $15,000. Refrigeration U.S.A. previously pleaded guilty to 129 felony counts, and Salazar and McNally previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act in connection with a scheme to divert 4,000 tons of CFCs into commerce in the United States. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Customs Service and the Internal Revenue Service.
August 12, 1997: Illegal Imports
On August 12, 1997, two brothers, Johnny Willis Simpson and Mark Cleveland Simpson were each sentenced to 46 months in prison and three years of supervised release. The brothers were convicted by a jury for their participation in an unlawful conspiracy to import 4,000 30-pound cylinders of CFC-12 from Mexico into the United States.
August 4, 1997: Illegal Imports
On August 4, 1997, William Darlon Morris was sentenced to 36 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $16,687,920. In addition, he was sentenced to three years supervised release and 250 hours of community service. The charges involved the illegal importation of CFCs into the U.S. from Canada and Mexico.
July 30, 1997:Illegal Imports
On July 30, 1997, Lewis Steinberg was sentenced to two years' probation with a special condition that he serve 7 months in home confinement and to a fine of $30,000. Steinberg had previously pled guilty to conspiring to assist in a CFC smuggling scheme that resulted in the importation of large quantities of CFC-12.
July 16, 1997: Venting Refrigerants at a Salvage Yard
EPA issued a complaint on April 10 against Statewide Auto Crushing of Altoona, Iowa, for their failure to remove refrigerant from appliances prior to disposal. Statewide paid a $4,000 fine.
July 1, 1997: Venting Refrigerants at a Salvage Yard
On July 1, 1997, Oceana Salvage Inc. and its Vice President, Gary L. Malbon, pled guilty to a Clean Air Act felony, the knowing venting of CFCs into the environment during the course of disposing of MVACs. Oceana Salvage employees routinely vented CFC-12 refrigerant by tearing out A/C condensers and crushing automobiles without first attempting to recover the refrigerant. As part of its plea agreement, Oceana Salvage has agreed to implement a refrigerant recovery program, including worker training.
June 10, 1997: Sprint Fined $21,600 for Using HC-12a®
The EPA has fined Central Telephone Company, commonly known as Sprint, $21,600 for using an unacceptable refrigerant, HC-12a®, as a replacement for a banned stratospheric ozone-depleting chemical, chlorofluorocarbon-12 (CFC-12), in the air conditioning units in its vehicle fleet in Las Vegas, Nev. EPA has also ordered All Star Rebuilders, a truck and bus fleet service shop in Fresno, Calif. to cease using HC-12a® as a CFC replacement in truck and bus air conditioning systems and truck refrigeration equipment. A fact sheet about HC-12a® is available from the SNAP page.
May 15, 1997: Failure to Certify Technicians or Use Approved Equipment
EPA charged a Fairfield, Connecticut new and used auto dealer with several CFC violations including using technicians not properly trained and failing to certify recycling equipment. On May 15, the dealership paid a fine of $42,000.
March 14, 1997: Camden Iron and Metal to Recycle Refrigerants, Pay $125,000 Fine
Camden Iron and Metal's subsidiary, S.P.C. Corporation, operates a large metal-shredding plant. The EPA complaint filed in April, 1996 stated that Camden/SPC failed to verify removal of CFCs from appliances before shredding them. Under the proposed settlement filed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice, the company is required to pay a civil penalty of $125,000 and to recycle CFCs from old appliances. Camden/SPC will work with municipalities in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland within a 50 mile radius of its south Philadelphia plant, to establish collection stations where appliances with refrigerants containing CFCs will be picked up and brought to the recycling plant. There, CFCs will be properly removed from the appliances.
March 12, 1997: Scrap Recycler to Pay $13,750 for CFC Disposal Violation
During an inspection of Joseph Smith & Sons, Inc., a Maryland scrap recycler, EPA inspectors discovered several small appliances with refrigerant systems that were completely intact, with no refrigerant line having been cut, broken or punctured and with no visible signs that prior refrigerant evacuation had taken place. EPA alleged that the company violated Section 608 of the CAA and the regulations promulgated there under at 40 C.F.R. 82.156(f) by failing in its obligation to verify that any remaining refrigerants had been recovered from these appliances prior to accepting them for disposal and scrap recycling.
September 6, 1995: United States v. Paul Zborovsky and Jose Prieto (S.D. FL)
Jose Prieto and Paul Zborovsky were sentenced on September 6, 1995, for smuggling the ozone depleting refrigerant gas dichlorodifluoromethane (also known as CFC-12) into the United States. Prieto was sentenced to 26 months of imprisonment. Co-defendant Paul Zborovsky was sentenced to two months of imprisonment, two months of home detention and a $5,000 fine. Zborovsky entered a plea prior to trial. Zborovsky pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) by importing CFC-12 into the United States without the consumption allowances issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. He also pleaded guilty to one count of smuggling.
August 30, 1995: United States v. Irma Henneberg (S.D. FL)
Irma Henneberg, manager of Caicos Caribbean Lines, Inc., was found guilty by a federal jury on August 30, 1995 on 34 counts of making false statements on customs documents used to illegally smuggle the refrigerant gas dichlorodifluoromethane (also known as CFC-12) into the United States. Henneberg made false statements on shipping manifests filed with the U.S. Customs Service to document the purported shipment of 209 cargo containers of refrigerant gas allegedly shipped from Miami. The purpose of the false manifests was to conceal the smuggling of large quantities of CFC-12 into the domestic commerce of the United States.
July 24, 1995: United States v. Adi Dara Dubash and Homi Patel (S.D. FL)
Adi Dara Dubash was sentenced on July 24, 1995, after pleading guilty to smuggling 8,400 cylinders of CFC-12 into the United States in violation of the Clean Air Act. He was sentenced to 22 months of imprisonment, 3 years of probation and a $6,000 fine. Dubash's co-defendant, Homi Patel, was sentenced on July 25, 1995, for the same offenses. Patel was sentenced to 3 years of probation and was required to pay a mandatory special assessment. Beginning in October 1994, Dubash, Patel and other co-conspirators caused seven cargo containers of the CFCs to be shipped into the New York/New Jersey area in bonded status. They further arranged for five of the seven containers to be forwarded to Miami, purportedly for reshipment out of the United States.
June 23, 1995: United States v. John Tominelli (S.D. FL)
Customs broker John Tominelli pleaded guilty on June 23, 1995, to one count of violating the Clean Air Act by importing into the United States 11 cargo containers of the ozone depleting refrigerant dichlorofluoromethane, known as CFC-12, without possessing the consumption allowances required by the CAA; one count of smuggling CFC-12 into the United States; and one count of importing distilled spirits without paying the required taxes. Tominelli faces possible penalties including 15 years incarceration and fines in excess of $750,000.
May 4, 1995: Illegal Disposal
On May 4, 1995, an administrative complaint was issued to S.D. Richman Sons, Inc., a Philadelphia wholesale scrap metal dealer, for violations of the stratospheric ozone protection requirements of the Clean Air Act. Specifically, the company disposed of numerous small appliances without verifying that the refrigerant had been evacuated from the appliances. This failure to verify prior refrigerant evacuation resulted in the likely release of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) containing refrigerant to the environment. The complaint seeks a civil penalty of $186,000.

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