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Environmental Fraud

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to fraud in environmental programs and policies. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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August 26, 2022

Houston-based Amplify Energy Corp. and two of its subsidiaries will plead guilty to violations of the Clean Water Act and pay a criminal penalty of $7.1 million to resolve charges arising from the October, 2021 discharge of approximately 25,000 gallons of crude oil from the San Pedro Bay Pipeline in Long Beach, California.  Defendants overrode multiple lead detection alarms to continue transferring crude oil from offshore facilities for processing, resulting in the leak from a crack in the pipeline.  In addition to the criminal penalty, defendants have agreed to pay approximately $5.8 million to compensate government agencies for response expenses, and implement additional compliance measures.  USAO CD Cal

August 24, 2022

James R. Lee and entities affiliated with him – Lee Oil Company, Inc., Whitesville Producing Corporation, Whitesville Production Corp., Allegro Oil & Gas Inc., and Allegro Investments Corporation – have been ordered to pay a penalty of $2 million for their failures to follow environmental laws with respect to over 400 oil wells they operated in western New York State.  The court found numerous violations, including defendants’ failures to plug over 400 wells and their failures to file required reports.  NY

August 1, 2022

FCA US LLC, formerly Chrysler Group LLC, will pay over $96 million in fines, forfeit an additional $203 million, in addition to 3 years of organizational probation for its conspiracy to defraud regulators about emissions control systems on its 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles from 2014 to 2016. FCA US marketed these vehicles as “clean EcoDiesel” and as having best-in-class fuel efficiency. What they didn’t disclose, however, is that FCA beat the regulatory scrutiny by installing software designed to manipulate emissions controls through “cycle detection” and “cycle beating,” without which the vehicles would not have passed federal tests. DOJ, EDMI

July 25, 2022

DCP Operation Company LP and five other DCP Midstream LP subsidiaries will pay $3.25 million and will take corrective actions to strengthen leak detection and repair processes at eight Weld County, Colorado natural gas processing plants. DCP’s inadequate leak detection and repair requirements caused excess emissions of volatile organic compounds and other pollutants into the atmosphere, a violation of the Clean Air Act. The failures were discovered by Colorado’s innovative Air Pollution Control Division’s Leak Detection and Repair Program. DOJ

May 24, 2022

The owners of the Motor Vessel Joanna, Empire Bulkers Limited and Joanna Maritime Limited, will pay $2 million and plead guilty to violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, admitting to knowingly falsifying the ship’s Oil Record Book to conceal unlawful discharges of oil.  Modifications to the vessel’s oil content monitor had been made so that discharge samples from the oily water separator were diluted with fresh water, thereby leading the oil content monitor to report erroneous concentrations.  DOJ; USAO ED LA

March 9, 2022

Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP has agreed to pay a $3.4 million penalty and undertake compliance measures valued at $118 million to resolve a federal complaint regarding alleged violations of the Clean Air Act and related laws arising from its flaring at petrochemical facilities in Cedar Bayou, Port Arthur, and Sweeney, Texas.  The government claimed that Chevron Phillips failed to properly operate and monitor its industrial flares, which resulted in excess emissions of harmful air pollution at the three facilities.  EPA

Top Ten Environmental Fraud Recoveries of 2021

Posted  02/11/22
forest with trees
This year’s environmental fraud Top Ten list includes enforcement actions against automakers, oil and pipeline companies, metal producers and recyclers, energy companies, and serial offender Monsanto. We didn’t see as many blockbuster settlements in 2021 as we did in 2020, despite the Biden administration signaling its focus on environmental fraud as an enforcement priority. Nonetheless, the 2021 enforcement...

January 31, 2022

Signal Peak Energy LLC (“Signal”) was fined $1 million and sentenced to three years of probation for violating environmental and worker safety regulations at Signal Peak Mine near Roundup, MN. According to the government, Signal habitually violated mandatory health and safety standards in the Mine Safety and Health Act during the mine’s operation. These violations included both environmental safety and worker safety standards. The violations occurred with the full knowledge, direction and participation of the mine’s most senior management during that period, including the president and CEO, the vice president of surface operations, the vice president of underground operations and the safety manager. USAO MN

January 10, 2022

Following his guilty plea on charges related to the filing of false tax returns claiming nonexistent fuel tax credits, Michael Dexter Little was ordered to forfeit $12.3 million and sentenced to 19.5 years in prison.  Little and his fellow fraudsters filed false tax returns in their own names and in the names of identity theft victims, and laundered the proceeds via real estate and other assets. USAO MDFL

December 9, 2021

Monsanto Company has agreed to plead guilty to charges that it used a glufosinate ammonium-based pesticide, sold as Forfeit 280, on corn fields in Hawaii, and then allowed workers to enter the fields during a six-day restricted-entry interval after the product was applied.  Monsanto will pay $12 million and undertake specified environmental compliance programs.  The government further alleged that Monsanto’s actions violated a 2019 Deferred Prosecution Agreement regarding Monsanto’s unlawful spraying of a banned pesticide, methyl parathion, the active ingredient in Penncap-M, on research crops at one of its facilities on Maui. USAO CD Cal
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