WASHINGTON — A Laurel Springs, N.J., wastewater treatment and chemical supply company and its owner were sentenced today for participating in a fraud conspiracy in connection with sub-contracts for wastewater treatment supplies and services at two Superfund sites in New Jersey, the Department of Justice announced today. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-designated Superfund sites are the Federal Creosote Superfund site in Manville, N.J., and the Diamond Alkali Superfund site in Newark, N.J.
John Drimak Jr. was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Newark by Judge Susan D. Wigenton to serve 18 months in prison, to pay a $30,000 criminal fine and to pay $283,241 in restitution to the victim, the EPA. J.M.J. Environmental Inc. was also sentenced to pay $283,241 in restitution. The company and its owner pleaded guilty on July 23, 2008, to rigging bids and allocating certain sub-contracts at Federal Creosote from approximately the spring of 2002 to approximately May 2007. Drimak also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the EPA at Federal Creosote and to defraud Tierra Solutions Inc. at Diamond Alkali. Tierra Solutions is a general contractor based in The Woodlands, Texas. As part of the conspiracy, Drimak participated in a false invoicing and kickback scheme from January 2002 until May 2007. He also pleaded guilty to filing false income tax returns for 2002 through 2005.
According to court documents, Drimak paid approximately $411,000 in kickbacks to co-conspirators, at both the Federal Creosote and Diamond Alkali sites, in exchange for their assistance in allocating certain sub-contracts to J.M.J. Environmental. The department said that the kickbacks were in the form of checks, cash, paid vacations, home renovations, boat trailers and payment of personal business expenses.
The cleanup at Federal Creosote is partly funded by the EPA. An interagency agreement between the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers designated that the EPA hire the prime contractors at Federal Creosote. According to a settlement with the EPA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Tierra Solutions was required to fund remedial action and maintenance of Diamond Alkali. Tierra Solutions hired the prime contractor for the remedial action and maintenance of Diamond Alkali.
Including Drimak and J.M.J Environmental, 10 individuals and three companies have been charged in this investigation. More than $3 million in criminal fines and restitution have been imposed and four individuals have been sentenced to jail.
Today’s sentence is the result of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s New York Field Office, the EPA’s Office of Inspector General and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. Anyone with information concerning bid rigging relating to contracts awarded at Federal Creosote or Diamond Alkali should contact the Antitrust Division’s New York Field Office at 212-264-9308 or visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm.