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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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Shining a Light on Fraud in the Energy Industry

Posted  10/1/21
This week brought not one but two newly announced False Claims Act (FCA) settlements with companies in the energy sector: (1) An Oklahoma-based energy company settled claims it underpaid royalties for natural resources, and (2) a utility company in New York settled claims it falsified reports to a local power authority to cover up mismanagement and wasted State electricity. The two settlements illustrate federal and...

September 23, 2021

Shipping company Diana Wilhelmsen Management Limited was ordered to pay $2 million following its admissions that it violated the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.  DWM admitted that its vessel, M/V Protefs, unlawfully discharged oily bilge water and knowingly kept a false oil record book.  DOJ; USAO ED LA

August 6, 2021

Chandra Yarlagadda, who owned and operated biodiesel supplier Alpha Bioenergy LLC, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $3.3 million following his guilty plea to income tax evasion charges.  Yarlagadda, who reported income and expenses associated with Alpha Bioenergy on Schedules C attached to his personal income tax returns, admitted that over the course of three years he reported that the company incurred expenses totaling more than $14.2 million for the purchase and retirement of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) used by the EPA, when, in fact, he had incurred only $80,000 in RIN expenses during those years.  Without the inflated deduction claims, Yarlagadda would have owed an additional $2.3 million in federal income taxes.  DOJ

August 6, 2021

Alaska commercial fisherman James Aaron Stevens was ordered to pay a $1 million fine and sentenced to six months in prison following his guilty plea on charges under the Lacy Act related to the false reporting of halibut and sablefish catch by his vessels the F/V Alaskan Star and F/V Southern Seas.  Over four seasons, Stevens falsified documents including individual fishing quota (IFQ) reports, state fish tickets, and fishing logbooks, to falsely claim that he harvested fish in locations and regulatory areas where he did not fish and omit areas where he actually fished. USAO AK

August 5, 2021

Pipeline company Summit Midstream Partners LLC, Meadowlark Midstream Company LLC, and Summit Operating Services Company LLC, have agreed to pay $35 million in fines and penalties to settle criminal and civil cases arising from the discharge of 29 million gallons of “produced water” – a waste product of hydraulic fracturing – from Summit’s pipeline near Williston, North Dakota, over the course of nearly five months in 2014-2015.  As part of the settlement, Summit admitted that it operated the pipeline without a reliable leak detection system and made incomplete and misleading reports to federal and state authorities about the spill.  DOJ; EPA

August 3, 2021

Trucking operator Complete Logistics Company, LLC (CLC) has agreed to a $2.38 million settlement to resolve allegations of falsely certifying compliance with California’s emissions regulations in order to obtain $2.2 million in state grants under the state’s Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program, which incentivizes trucking companies to reduce emissions by offering grants for newer, cleaner trucks.  The alleged misconduct occurred during a health-related absence by CLC’s owner; upon the owner’s return in 2017, immediate remedial measures were taken.  CA AG

April 21, 2021

Rockwater Northeast LLC and its parent company Select Energy Services, Inc. will collectively pay a $4.3 million in criminal fines and penalties for violations of the Clean Air Act through tampering with the emissions systems on heavy-duty diesel trucks owned by the companies and installing “defeat devices” that disabled emissions diagnostic systems on the trucks.  The company’s parent company entered into a non-prosecution agreement that included the implementation of a compliance program and cooperation with ongoing investigations.  Six individuals, including former employees of Rockwater, have been prosecuted in connection with the investigation.  USAO MDPA

April 13, 2021

ExxonMobil Oil Corporation agreed to pay penalties of $1.5 million to the federal government and State of Illinois and undertake $10 million in specified physical and operational changes at its petroleum refinery in Joliet to reduce air emissions and resolve claims that the company violated the Clean Air Act and a 2005 Consent Decree applicable to the facility.  EPA

Top Ten Environmental Fraud Settlements for 2020

Posted  03/12/21
Clear Light Buld Placed Over a Plant
In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic uprooted our routines and put life on pause in 2020. But environmental fraud continued unabated, and so did enforcement actions against the perpetrators. We saw two major enforcement actions relating to devices designed to evade emissions requirements, several enforcement actions relating to water contamination and the knowing sale of products containing harmful pollutants, and...

March 9, 2021

Aftermarket automotive parts seller Premier Performance, together with related companies JB Automotive, RallySportDirect, and Stage 3 Motorsports, will pay a $3 million penalty under the Clean Air Act to resolve allegations that they illegally sold emissions-control defeat devices to businesses and individuals throughout the U.S. EPA
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