FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 15, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
OHIO MAN INDICTED FOR VIOLATION OF THE CLEAN AIR ACT
Company Official Is Alleged To Have Falsely Told Government That Required
Pollution Control Device Was Installed On Plant Equipment
INDIANAPOLIS, IN — John Littlehale, age 48, of Terrace Park, Ohio was indicted today on charges of conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act, as well as for making a false statement in violation of the Clean Air Act, Susan W. Brooks, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and Thomas L. Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Department of the Justice Department announced.
Littlehale was Vice President for Manufacturing at Multi-Color Corporation, an Ohio company – one of the largest producers of printed labels for branded consumer products in the United States. Multi-Color owns and operates the Scottsburg Label Division in Scottsburg, Indiana that makes labels for mass-marketed products. In 1997, Multi-Color produced labels for a variety of consumer products including: liquid detergents, fabric softeners, liquid soaps, anti-freeze, motor oil, chewing gum and food products.
The indictment alleges that from 1996 through January 18, 1998, Littlehale ordered or arranged for the construction and operation of a new press at the Scottsburg Label Division, known as Press #3, without an air pollution control device, even though he knew it was required. The indictment sets out that the conspiracy centered on making false statements to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the Environmental Protection Agency to conceal that Multi-Color was operating the press without the proper permits and without the proper pollution control measures installed.
According to the indictment, these false statements enabled Multi-Color to secretly operate Press #3 months or years sooner than it could have had it complied with the Clean Air Act. The purpose of the conspiracy was to increase Multi-Color's profits and to enable the company to delay or completely avoid the expense of installing and maintaining an air pollution control device, the indictment further alleges.
Commencing in 1996, the Clean Air Act required certain facilities, including Multi-Color, to apply for facility-wide operating permits, commonly referred to as Part 70 or Title V permits. The false statement charge in the indictment alleges that in December 1997 Littlehale filed the permit application, but falsely certified that Press #3 was not in operation and that when it did become operational it would be in compliance with the Clean Air Act.
In a related matter, on December 9, 2002, Roger Taylor, a former employee of the Scottsburg Label Division from 1996 until early 1998, was arraigned on a one count information charging Misprision of a Felony. The charges against Taylor set forth that in December 1997, he was aware that his supervisor, John Littlehale, made the false statements in the facility-wide permit application but that he did nothing to report their falsity to the proper authorities, including during subsequent discussions with Indiana Department of Environmental Management employees and contractors.
Multi-Color Corporation has not been charged. In January 1998, as the company was going through a management change, it uncovered and immediately disclosed these violations to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management pursuant to a Voluntary Disclosure Program. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management's Voluntary Disclosure Program, based on the EPA's program, encourages companies to report environmental violations in exchange for potential leniency in subsequent enforcement, including potentially avoiding criminal charges. In November 1998, Multi-Color entered into a civil resolution of the case with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. In the civil matter, the company agreed to pay a fine, to perform supplemental environmental projects and to cooperate with the government's continuing investigation.
If convicted, Littlehale faces a maximum statutory prison term of five years on count one of the indictment and a maximum statutory prison term of two years on count two of the indictment. Additionally, if convicted, Littlehale can be fined up to $250,000 for each count. The charges in the indictment and information are allegations only and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
U.S. Attorney Brooks credited Special Agent Jeffrey Denny of the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division's Indianapolis Resident Office as well as the Indiana Interagency Environmental Crimes Task Force for the Southern District of Indiana with making major contributions to the cases against Littlehale and Taylor. The United States is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota, of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Indianapolis and Stacey Mitchell of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department.