1995-1998 Enforcement Actions under Title VI of the Clean Air Act
- 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
- 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
- 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
- July 17, 1998: Two Texas Men Admit to CFC
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- January 21, 1998: Scrap Metal Company to Pay For CFC
- 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
- January 21, 1998: EPA Reduces Penalty
for Refrigeration Company That Voluntarily Disclosed CFC
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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 7½ 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- July 24, 1995: United States v. Adi Dara Dubash and Homi Patel
- 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.