WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department announced that William C. Murphy, 54, of Glencoe, Alabama was sentenced today in U.S. District Court to 41 months in prison, ordered to pay $45,305 in restitution, and was given 3 years supervised release for selling counterfeit and misbranded pesticides to municipalities in Alabama and Georgia for mosquito and West Nile Virus control. In January, shortly before his trial was to begin, Mr. Murphy pled guilty to a twenty-eight count indictment charging him with having manufactured and sold counterfeit pesticides by using registered brand names that he had no authority to use in the marketing of chemicals he mixed and packaged in an Anniston, Alabama warehouse. According to the indictment, Murphy, operating under the name Sierra Chemical, sold imitations of brand-name pesticides which bore labels falsely identifying the brand name, manufacturer, or active ingredients to the following municipalities: Enterprise, Linden, Alexander City, Brundidge, Jacksonville, Oneonta, Talladega, Weaver, Cullman, Pell City, Union Springs, Tallassee, and Lee County, Georgia.
Murphy, who has been held in prison since his arrest in May, could have received a maximum fine of $2,000,000 and imprisonment of up to ten years for violating federal trademark protection laws, and a fine of up to $100,000 per count and imprisonment of up to one year per count for violation of federal pesticide control laws.
“This case is an example of how state and federal agencies can work together effectively to bring to justice those who violate the environmental laws that both the state and federal governments have a responsibility to enforce,” said Thomas L. Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This Administration takes seriously its obligation to protect the public health and the environment. Those individuals and corporations whose conduct creates such a threat or who knowingly violate environmental laws will face the kind of prosecution and punishment demonstrated here.”
“The sentence imposed in this case demonstrates the seriousness of environmental crimes, and my commitment to protecting the public from those who perpetrate such crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Alice H. Martin.
David McLeod, Resident Agent in Charge, Environmental Protection Agency said, “Murphy’s sentence should send a clear message to those persons who think they can get away with undermining the regulatory system that is intended to ensure the safety and efficacy of the pesticides sold in this country. It also demonstrates that we take these matters seriously and will vigorously investigate those who endanger public health.”
This case was investigated cooperatively by Special Agents of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigative Division and Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industry. Assistant United States Attorney Robert O. Posey, Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section Senior Trial Attorney Jeremy Korzenik, and Environmental Protection Agency Region IV Senior Counsel Richard Glaze prosecuted the case.