An owner and sole operator of an environmental laboratory has been charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi with falsification of records and obstructing a federal criminal investigation, announced U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Gregory K. Davis and Assistant Attorney General Ignacia S. Moreno of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
Tennie White, owner, operator and manager of Mississippi Environmental Analytical Laboratories Inc. was charged in a three-count felony indictment with two false statements counts and one count of obstructing proceedings.
According to the indictment, White was hired to perform laboratory testing of a manufacturer’s industrial process waste water samples and then to use those results to complete monthly discharge monitoring reports for submission to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The indictment alleges that from February to August 2009 White created three discharge monitoring reports (DMRs) that falsely represented that laboratory testing had been performed on samples when, in fact, such testing had not been done. The indictment further alleges that White created a fictitious laboratory report and presented it to her client for use in preparing another DMR.
The indictment further alleges that White made false statements to a federal agent during a subsequent criminal investigation.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The false statements charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count. The obstructing proceedings charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Richard J. Powers of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gaine Cleveland of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi.