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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 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

June 8, 2022

Real estate developer Baldwin & Sons was fined $6.6 million based on its failures to control erosion and runoff, or contain fluids leaking from equipment, at a luxury home construction site in Orange County, and its failure to implement required best management practices.  The state also found that Baldwin ignored numerous corrective and cease-and-desist orders.  CA

June 3, 2022

FCA US LLC, formerly Chrysler Group LLC, has pleaded guilty to making false and misleading representations about emissions control systems on Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ram 1500s for the 2014-2016 model years.  The company will pay a criminal fine of nearly $100 million, and forfeit over $200 million, for a total of $300 million in penalties.  Fiat Chrysler marketed the vehicles as “clean EcoDiesel,” but installed software features to fraudulently help the vehicles meet emissions standards during testing that could not be met under normal driving conditions.  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

April 5, 2022

Wind energy provider ESI Energy Inc. pleaded guilty to violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), agreeing to fines and restitution of $8 million and to implement management and mitigation programs valued at up to $27 million in order to minimize eagle deaths associated with its facilities.  ESI did not apply for “eagle take permits” in connection with wind energy facilities it constructed and operated.  The government alleged that ESI sought to avoid MBTA requirements that could have delayed operation of its facilities or reduced their operation, and received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal tax credits for generating electricity from wind power at facilities that it operated, knowing that multiple eagles would be killed and wounded without legal authorization.  USAO WY

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
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