“Walmart Pleads Guilty to Federal Environmental Crimes, Admits Civil Violations, and Will Pay More Than $81 Million”

May 29, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 28, 2013 released the following press release:

“Retailer Admits Violating Criminal and Civil Laws Designed to Protect Water Quality and to Ensure Proper Handling of Hazardous Wastes and Pesticides

WASHINGTON—Walmart Stores Inc. pleaded guilty today in cases filed by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles and San Francisco to six counts of violating the Clean Water Act by illegally handling and disposing of hazardous materials at its retail stores across the United States. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company also pleaded guilty today in Kansas City, Missouri, to violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by failing to properly handle pesticides that had been returned by customers at its stores across the country.

As a result of the three criminal cases brought by the Justice Department, as well as a related civil case filed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Walmart will pay approximately $81.6 million for its unlawful conduct. Coupled with previous actions brought by the states of California and Missouri for the same conduct, Walmart will pay a combined total of more than $110 million to resolve cases alleging violations of federal and state environmental laws.

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, from a date unknown until January 2006, Walmart did not have a program in place and failed to train its employees on proper hazardous waste management and disposal practices at the store level. As a result, hazardous wastes were either discarded improperly at the store level—including being put into municipal trash bins or, if a liquid, poured into the local sewer system—or they were improperly transported without proper safety documentation to one of six product return centers located throughout the United States.

“By improperly handling hazardous waste, pesticides, and other materials in violation of federal laws, Walmart put the public and the environment at risk and gained an unfair economic advantage over other companies,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Today, Walmart acknowledged responsibility for violations of federal laws and will pay significant fines and penalties, which will, in part, fund important environmental projects in the communities impacted by the violations and help prevent future harm to the environment.”

“Federal laws that address the proper handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous wastes exist to safeguard our environment and protect the public from harm,” said André Birotte, Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. “Retailers like Walmart that generate hazardous waste have a duty to legally and safely dispose of that hazardous waste, and dumping it down the sink was neither legal nor safe. The case against Walmart is designed to ensure compliance with our nation’s environmental laws now and in the future.”

“As one of the largest retailers in the United States, Walmart is responsible not only for the stock on its shelves but also for the significant amount of hazardous materials that result from damaged products returned by customers,” said Melinda Haag, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California. “The crimes in these cases stem from Walmart’s failure to comply with the regulations designed to ensure the proper handling, storage, and disposal of those hazardous materials and waste. With its guilty plea today, Walmart is in a position to be an industry leader by ensuring that not only Walmart but all retail stores properly handle their waste.”

“This tough financial penalty holds Walmart accountable for its reckless and illegal business practices that threatened both the public and the environment,” said Tammy Dickinson, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. “Truckloads of hazardous products, including more than two million pounds of pesticides, were improperly handled under Walmart’s contract. Today’s criminal fine should send a message to companies of all sizes that they will be held accountable to follow federal environmental laws. Additionally, Walmart’s community service payment will fund important environmental projects in Missouri to help prevent such abuses in the future.”

“The FBI holds all companies, regardless of size, to the same standards,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson of the San Francisco Field Office. “We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure there is a level playing field for all businesses and that everyone follows the rules.”

“Today, Walmart is taking responsibility for violating laws that protect people from hazardous wastes and chemicals,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Walmart is committing to safe handling of hazardous wastes at all of its facilities nationwide, an action that will benefit communities across the country.”

Walmart owns more than 4,000 stores nationwide that sell thousands of products which are flammable, corrosive, reactive, toxic, or otherwise hazardous under federal law. The products that contain hazardous materials include pesticides, solvents, detergents, paints, aerosols, and cleaners. Once discarded, these products are considered hazardous waste under federal law.

Walmart pleaded guilty this morning in San Francisco to six misdemeanor counts of negligently violating the Clean Water Act. The six criminal charges were filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles and San Francisco (each office filed three charges), and the two cases were consolidated in the Northern District of California, where the guilty pleas were formally entered before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero. As part of a plea agreement filed in California, Walmart was sentenced to pay a $40 million criminal fine and an additional $20 million that will fund various community service projects, including opening a $6 million Retail Compliance Assistance Center that will help retail stores across the nation learn how to properly handle hazardous waste.

In the third criminal case resolved today, Walmart pleaded guilty in the Western District of Missouri to violating FIFRA. According to a plea agreement filed in Kansas City, beginning in 2006, Walmart began sending certain damaged household products, including regulated solid and liquid pesticides, from its six return centers to Greenleaf LLC, a recycling facility located in Neosho, Missouri, where the products were processed for reuse and resale. Because Walmart employees failed to provide adequate oversight of the pesticides sent to Greenleaf, regulated pesticides were mixed together and offered for sale to customers without the required registration, ingredients, or use information, which constitutes a violation of FIFRA. Between July 2006 and February 2008, Walmart trucked more than two million pounds of regulated pesticides and additional household products from its various return centers to Greenleaf. In November 2008, Greenleaf was also convicted of a FIFRA violation and paid a criminal penalty of $200,000 in 2009.

Pursuant to the plea agreement filed in Missouri and accepted today by U.S. District Judge John T. Maughmer, Walmart agreed to pay a criminal fine of $11 million and to pay another $3 million to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, which will go to that agency’s Hazardous Waste Program and will be used to fund further inspections and education on pesticide regulations for regulators, the regulated community, and the public. In addition, Walmart has already spent more than $3.4 million to properly remove and dispose of all hazardous material from Greenleaf’s facility.

In conjunction with today’s guilty pleas in the three criminal cases, Walmart has agreed to pay a $7.628 million civil penalty that will resolve civil violations of FIFRA and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). In addition to the civil penalties, Walmart is required to implement a comprehensive, nationwide environmental compliance agreement to manage hazardous waste generated at its stores. The agreement includes requirements to ensure adequate environmental personnel and training at all levels of the company, proper identification and management of hazardous wastes, and the development and implementation of Environmental Management Systems at its stores and return centers. Compliance with this agreement is a condition of probation imposed in the criminal cases.

The criminal cases announced today are a result of investigations conducted by the FBI and the EPA, which received substantial assistance from the California Department of Substance and Toxics Control, and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

In Missouri, the case was prosecuted by Deputy U.S. Attorney Gene Porter and ENRD Senior Trial Attorney Jennifer Whitfield of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division. In California, the cases were prosecuted in Los Angeles by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph O. Johns and in San Francisco by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey Geis.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


John Mayer and Timothy Bayes Indicted on Federal Charges Alleging Violation of the Clean Air Act Involving the Removal and Disposal of Asbestos Containing Material

May 2, 2013

The Blade on May 2, 2013 released the following:

2 Toledo men indicted on federal charges for improperly disposing of insulation with asbestos

Two Toledo men who federal prosecutors say illegally dumped asbestos-containing insulation around the city have been indicted on federal charges.

John Mayer, 52, and Timothy Bayes, 32, each were charged with violating the Clean Air Act and regulations involving the removal and disposal of asbestos-containing material, U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said today.

“These defendants are accused of ignoring the laws and regulations that are in place to protect the public,” he said in a news release. “Protecting the environment, including the air we breathe, is a priority of my office and the Justice Department.”

According to the indictment, between September, 2010, and December, 2010, Mr. Mayer directed individuals to remove insulation from boilers, duct work, and pipes in a former manufacturing plant in Toledo so that he could sell the scrap metal from those items.

At Mr. Mayer’s direction, Mr. Bayes allegedly dumped some 82 garbage bags containing the insulation at various locations throughout Toledo. By law, such material must be disposed of at a licensed facility.

Asbestos-containing materials also must be wetted as they are removed; the city’s Division of Environmental Services must be notified, and a person trained in federal asbestos regulations must be on site. None of those things happened in this case, prosecutors say.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, and the Ohio EPA.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Martin S. Kimber Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury Alleging Chemical Weapons Offenses

May 17, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 17, 2012 released the following:

“Man Indicted for Chemical Weapons Offenses

Richard S. Hartunian, United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York, announced today the indictment of Martin S. Kimber, 59, of Ruby, New York. Kimber is charged in three counts with violations of the chemical weapon statute (counts one and two), which prohibits individuals from possessing, stockpiling, or using a toxic chemical as a weapon; and with a violation of the consumer product tampering statute (count three).

The indictment alleges that in December 10, 2010 and December 23, 2010, Kimber received medical care at the Albany Medical Center and that on January 24, 2011, he wrote to complain about having to pay for his treatment. It further alleges that on February 22, 2011, the Albany Medical Center Associate Medical Director wrote back to explain why the bills were appropriate and discussed the outcome associated with the defendant having provided inaccurate information about his injury and his decision not to complete the care proscribed by his treating physician.

The indictment alleges that on March 2, 2012, Kimber spread mercury, a known toxic substance, throughout various areas of the Albany Medical Center cafeteria, including in and around food served to customers, and on and around heating elements use in food preparation. It further describes three previous instances, March 28, 2011, April 11, 2011, June 23, 2011, where mercury was spread around the hospital on days when New York State toll records establish the defendant traveled from his home in Ruby, New York and exited at the get-off for the Albany Medical Center. The indictment alleges that on March 2, 2012, Kimber’s activities were captured on hospital video surveillance cameras in the Albany Medical Center cafeteria— where mercury was subsequently found —including on food consumed by at least one patron. Canisters of mercury were subsequently found by law enforcement officers in Kimber’s home and car. The person who ate the contaminated food was subsequently treated in the hospital’s emergency room. An emergency chemical response team at the Albany Medical Center responded promptly to the mercury contamination on each occasion and removed it from the premises.

The defendant was arrested on April 25, 2012 and is in jail, being held in pretrial detention. On March 2, 2012, following a detention hearing, United States Magistrate Judge Andrew T. Baxter determined that Kimber poses a serious danger to the community and that no combination of release conditions could be established to permit him to be released without continuing to pose a danger to the community.

A complaint filed in support of an arrest warrant was unsealed on April 26, 2012. It alleged that a search warrant was executed at Kimber’s house and automobile. Besides the seizure of two canisters of mercury, the complaint further alleged that approximately 21 guns were removed from Kimber’s residence. Literature reflecting sympathy for domestic terrorism (The Turner Diaries) was observed during the search, which states on the cover page, “This book contains racist propagnda” and “The FBI said it was the blueprint for the Oklahoma City bombing. Searching officers further observed a Nazi swastika on a wall of Kimber’s home.

The two chemical weapons counts each contain a maximum possible term of life in jail and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross loss to any victim. The consumer product tampering charge contains a maximum possible penalty of 10 years in jail and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross loss to any victim.

Mercury is a known hazardous substance that has been very well-studied. Among other things, mercury is a human neurotoxin that kills nerve cells, can result in brain and lung damage, respiratory failure, ataxia, speech impairment, constriction of the visual field, hearing loss, and somatosensory change. Mercury is readily absorbed through unbroken skin, by intestinal absorption after ingestion, and by inhalation of vapors. It accumulates in the body and can cause damage to internal organs including kidneys.

The allegations in the Indictment and criminal complaint are mere accusations and all persons are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case is being investigated by special agents of the Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration-Office of Criminal Investigations, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistance has been provided by the Towns of Albany and Ulster Police Departments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Craig Benedict. Questions may be directed to AUSA Benedict at 315-448-0672.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Former EPA-CID Special Agent in Texas Pleads Guilty to Perjury and Obstruction of Justice

October 4, 2011

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on October 4, 2011 released the following:

“WASHINGTON — A former special agent with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Criminal Investigation Division (CID) in Dallas has pleaded guilty to lying under oath and obstructing justice, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins Jr. of the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

Keith Phillips, 61, of Kent, Texas, pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Richard T. Haik Sr. in the Western District of Louisiana to a two-count indictment charging him with obstruction of justice and perjury. The charges stemmed from his sworn testimony in relation to a case that was pending in the Western District of Louisiana.

‪ According to the indictment, from September 1996 to Dec. 14, 1999, Phillips and a special agent from the FBI participated in a criminal investigation that led to the indictment of Hubert Vidrine Jr. and several others. The criminal charges against Vidrine were ultimately dismissed, and Vidrine, in turn, filed a civil lawsuit against the United States for malicious prosecution. In pleading guilty, Phillips admitted that during a deposition taken in the course of Vidrine’s civil suit, Phillips falsely testified that he did not have an affair with the FBI special agent, when, in fact, he did. Phillips admitted that he was aware the proceedings in the civil case were pending on the day he testified and that the existence of the extramarital affair was material to the civil lawsuit. According to a ruling in the civil case on Sept. 30, 2011, the court found that the “inappropriate affair” was highly relevant and material to those proceedings.

In addition, according to court documents, Phillips contacted the FBI special agent on at least three occasions to ensure the special agent knew that Phillips had testified that their relationship was purely professional, when in fact, it was not.

Specifically, Phillips admitted that he testified knowingly and dishonestly about the affair with the specific intent to undermine the due administration of justice. Phillips also admitted that he tried to influence, obstruct and impede the civil suit by testifying falsely that he did not have an extramarital affair with the FBI special agent.

‪ Phillips faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on the obstruction of justice count, and five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on the perjury count. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled by the court.

‪ The case is being prosecuted by Marquest J. Meeks and Richard Evans of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. The case was investigated by the EPA OIG, Office of Investigations.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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William Morgan, Supervisor of Royal Oak Township, Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for Allegedly Committing Bribery

August 30, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 30, 2011 released the following:

“Supervisor of Royal Oak Township Indicted for Bribery

The Supervisor of Royal Oak Township, William Morgan, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 3 counts of bribery, and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, violate the federal Clean Air Act, and commit bribery, United States Attorney Barbara McQuade announced today. The previously sealed indictment, was unsealed today after the defendant’s arrest.

U.S. Attorney McQuade was joined in the announcement by Andrew G. Arena, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit, Michigan office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Breck Nowlin, Special Agent in Charge, Office of Inspector General, Housing and Urban Development (HUD-OIG), and Randall K. Ashe, Special Agent in Charge, Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Enforcement (EPA-CE).

The charges involve Morgan’s alleged criminal conduct in awarding a contract and distributing federal funds that were intended to improve blighted areas by removing dilapidated buildings. The program was run by the HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a program Morgan supervised for the Township.

The indictment alleges that Morgan received $10,000 from Sureguard/PBM, one of the companies that submitted a bid for the demolition and asbestos removal from an abandoned theater on Eight Mile Road. Despite Morgan’s efforts to steer the contract to Sureguard/PBM, the Board of Supervisors awarded the contract to another company which submitted a lower bid.

The indictment further alleges that Morgan caused a fraudulently inflated change order to be submitted regarding the asbestos removal from the theater.

Morgan is further charged with asking for, and receiving payments of $500 and $1,000 from the owner of the company that had won the contract.

“Public officials have a duty to act in the best interest of the people they serve,” McQuade said. “When they breach that duty by acting in their own financial interest instead, they will be prosecuted.”

Andrew Arena, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation said, “Public corruption is a top priority for the FBI. We are committed to aggressively pursuing those who steal money from their communities and betray the trust of people to put them into office.”

Breck J. Nowlin, Special Agent in Charge, said “Public corruption at any level strikes at the very heart of representative government. In this case, the very individuals in whom the people have placed their full faith and confidence have squandered that faith in order to personally profit from the programs they are charged to administer. We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement colleagues to root out this type of corruption and to protect these valued programs.”

“Asbestos can cause cancer and other fatal diseases and has no safe exposure level. That’s why the main question that a public official should ask himself when awarding an asbestos abatement contract is, ‘who can best do the job competently, safely and cost-effectively?’,” said Randall Ashe, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Michigan. “EPA takes the allegations in the indictment very seriously and we will work closely with our law enforcement partners on this prosecution.”

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case was investigated by special agents of the FBI, H.U.D. Office of Inspector General and U.S. Environmental Division, Criminal Investigation Division.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Theresa Neubauer and Frank Scaccia Indicted by a Chicago Federal Grand Jury

August 11, 2011

The Chicago Tribune on August 11, 2011 released the following:

“Feds Indict 2 Over Tainted Crestwood Well

By Michael Hawthorne
Tribune reporter

The police chief and former top water official in south suburban Crestwood were indicted today on federal criminal charges related to the secret use of a well contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals, a scheme revealed by a 2009 Tribune investigation.

Theresa Neubauer, the village’s police chief and former water department supervisor, and Frank Scaccia, Crestwood’s former certified water operator, were charged in a 23-count indictment handed down by a federal grand jury meeting in Chicago.

They are accused of repeatedly lying in official documents about the longtime use of the contaminated well to supplement Lake Michigan water purchased from neighboring Alsip. According to the indictment, village officials failed to fix its network of leaky water pipes, so they needed the well water to meet demand.

Former Mayor Chester Stranczek, who ran the village for nearly 40 years, was not mentioned by name in the indictment. Nor was his son, Robert, who took over as mayor in 2007.

Based on a Tribune review of records mentioned in the indictment, Chester Stranczek is identified as “Public Official A,” the person who signed federally mandated Consumer Confidence Reports between 1999 and 2007 that stated the village’s only source of drinking water was the Lake Michigan water purchased from Alsip. Village records show that Stranczek had ordered his lieutenants to keep using the contaminated well, even though the Illinois EPA had told them in 1985 that it was contaminated with toxic chemicals related to a common dry cleaning solvent.

During the past two years, Crestwood has paid criminal and civil defense attorneys more than $3.3 million to defend the Stranczeks and other village officials, according to a tally provided by the village’s attorney. Some of the most expensive bills were to prepare a defense for Chester Stranczek, whose attorneys hired experts who concluded the former mayor has “mild to moderate” dementia.

“He is not in a position to assist in his defense on any charges,” said Chris Gair, Stranczek’s attorney.

In a 2009 interview with the Tribune, Robert Stranczek said he had known about the routine use of the well since at least 1997, when he became a village trustee. He was appointed mayor in 2007 when his father retired.

Agents from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s criminal division raided Crestwood Village Hall in April 2009 after the Tribune first revealed that the village had used its contaminated well for more than two decades. What the agents found prompted a criminal probe by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office.

In April, shortly before municipal elections, village officials sent a newsletter to residents calling the water scandal a “manufactured issue” fueled by a “media frenzy” and “exploitive legal and political actions.” They issued a statement today insisting that people never were at risk from drinking the contaminated water, which at times accounted for at least 20 percent of the village’s supply.

“The government’s investigation … confirms that there is not now and never has been any concern with the safety or quality of the drinking water in Crestwood and the health of our citizens has never been compromised or threatened,” the statement read. “Our citizens’ well-being has always been and will always continue to be our top priority.”

It is unclear if anyone got sick from drinking water from the well, which was contaminated with vinyl chloride and dichloroethylene, two chemicals related to the dry cleaning solvent perchloroethylene, or perc. But a 2010 study by the Illinois Department of Public Health found that cancer rates in Crestwood are “significantly elevated.”

Researchers determined it was possible that toxic chemicals in the drinking water caused the extra cancer cases, but they could not make a definite link.

The well was shut off for good in 2007.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Brendan Clery Sentenced in Illegal Refrigerant Smuggling Operation

July 31, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Florida on July 29, 2011 released the following:

“Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Maureen O’Mara, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Criminal Investigation Division, Atlanta Area Office, Drusilla Hufford, Director, EPA’s Stratospheric Protection Division, and Michael Shea, Deputy Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, announced that defendant Brendan Clery, 34, of Miami, was sentenced today on charges of knowingly importing approximately 278,256 kilograms of illegal hydrochlorofluorocarbon-22 (HCFC-22), contrary to the provisions of the Clean Air Act (CAA). HCFC-22 is a widely used refrigerant for residential heat pump and air-conditioning systems.

U.S. District Court Judge Adalberto Jordan sentenced Clery to 18 months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release. Judge Jordan also imposed a fine of $10,000. Additionally, Clery was ordered to forfeit to the United States $935,240, representing the proceeds of his illegal conduct.

The CAA regulates air pollutants, including ozone depleting substances such as HCFC-22. The CAA and its implementing regulations established a schedule to phase out the production and importation of ozone depleting substances, with a complete ban starting in 2030. To meet its obligations under an international treaty to reduce its consumption of ozone depleting substances, the United States issued baseline consumption allowances for the production and importation of HCFC-22 to individuals and companies. To legally import HCFC-22, one must hold an unexpended consumption allowance.

According to court records and statements made in court, in 2005 Clery formed Lateral Investments, a Florida corporation, for the purpose of importing merchandise, including refrigerant gas. Clery was the President of Lateral. Between June and August 2007, Clery illegally smuggled large quantities of HCFC-22 into the United States to sell on the black market. At no time did Clery or Lateral Investments hold unexpended consumption allowances that would have allowed them to legally import the HCFC-22. During 2007, Clery illegally imported approximately 278,256 kilograms or 20,460 cylinders of restricted HCFC-22, with a market value of $1,438,270.

United States Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office, along with its law enforcement partners, is committed to enforcing our nation’s laws and protecting our environment from actions that threaten both the well being of our citizens and the quality of our environment.”

Maureen O’Mara, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Florida said, “Releases of the refrigerant R-22 can deplete the ozone layer that protects people from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation such as skin cancer. Through the course of our investigation we found that the defendant violated the Clean Air Act by smuggling R-22 into the U.S. The significant sentence imposed in this case demonstrates that breaking the law isn’t worth the risk.”

“The consequence of illegal smuggling of ozone-depleting substances for our health is a higher risk of skin cancer, a disease that is now more common than breast, lung, colon and prostate cancer combined,” said Drusilla Hufford, EPA’s Stratospheric Protection Division Director. “Stopping this unconscionable trade is an important step in protecting the health of Americans today and into the future.”

“The unlawful importation of goods poses a triple threat to the national security, public safety, and economic well-being of the United States,” said Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of ICE HSI in Miami. “This case is another example of ICE’s partnership and aggressive approach with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and EPA to protect the American public from inferior and unsafe products that compromise the safety of our citizens.”

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Criminal Investigation Bureau. The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jodi A. Mazer and Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Watts-FitzGerald.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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