FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
TWO SENTENCED IN LAS VEGAS FOR CRIMINAL DISCHARGES OF ELECTROPLATING WASTES
WASHINGTON, D.C.– U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden and Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division announced that Gene Moran and John Gold were sentenced today for criminal violations of the Clean Water Act stemming from their operation of Silver State Plating, an electroplating facility in downtown Las Vegas, Nev.
Gold was sentenced to12 months in prison for intentionally discharging electroplating wastes to the public sewer in excess of federal and local standards; intentionally discharging similar wastes to the Las Vegas Wash; conspiring to dispose of electroplating sludge in a variety of illegal ways; and making false statements to conceal his crimes.
Gold pleaded guilty to the charges against him on October 30, 2001, the day he was scheduled to go to trial. Although the sentence for these crimes could have carried over three years imprisonment under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, it was significantly reduced to account for Gold's admission of guilt and the substantial assistance he provided the government in its prosecution of Gene Moran, the owner of Silver State Plating.
Moran went to trial and was found guilty of criminal negligence on December 12, 2001. Specifically, the jury found that he allowed electroplating wastes to flow to the Las Vegas public sewer system from his electroplating operation. This waste had concentrations of metals in excess of national discharge standards for zinc, chromium, copper, lead and nickel. Although this crime is only a federal misdemeanor, Moran was sentenced to12 months imprisonment based on repeated discharges of toxic substances from Silver State Plating.
Sewage treatment systems depend on biological organisms to treat household wastes. Industrial wastes, and especially electroplating wastes, usually contain concentrations of toxic metals and chemical compounds that can poison these beneficial organisms. If enough of these organisms are killed, all of the sewage of Las Vegas could pass through the plant untreated. The outlet for the Clark County Sanitation District's sewage treatment plant leads to Lake Mead and the Colorado River.
"Crimes against the environment will not go unpunished," said Sansonetti. "Those who would violate the Clean Water Act should consider this case – and its results – before discharging illegal wastes into our nation's sewer systems."
This case was investigated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Clark County Sanitation District and the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection.