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Debra Wong Yang
United States Attorney
Central District of California


United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Release No. 06-009

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2006
For Information, Contact Public Affairs
Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947

LOS ANGELES MAN SENTENCED TO 37 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON IN HAZARDOUS WASTE CASE


Los Angeles, CA - A West Los Angeles man has been sentenced to 37 months in jail and ordered to pay $1.29 million in clean-up costs for conspiring to illegally store and transport dangerous chemicals, primarily the dry cleaning solvent perchloroethylene (PERC or PCE).

Behzad Kahoolyzadeh, a 50-year-old man who also used the names Behzad Cohen and David Cohen, was sentenced late Tuesday in Los Angeles federal court by United States Circuit Court Judge Alex Kozinski. Kahoolyzadeh pleaded guilty on March 4, 2004 to two counts of illegally transportating hazardous waste and two counts of illegally storing hazardous waste, as well as one count of conspiring to commit those crimes.

Kahoolyzadeh was associated with a company called AAD Distribution and Dry Cleaning Services, Inc., which was based in Vernon, California. AAD was one of the largest handlers of dry cleaning waste in California until it was shut down in January 2001. The company charged dry cleaners to pick up, treat and arrange for the disposal of the hazardous dry cleaning compound known as PERC, a cancer-causing chemical that is the number one contaminant of groundwater in Southern California.

"These crimes were clearly motivated by greed and posed a serious threat to public health and the environment," said United States Attorney Debra Wong Yang.

David M. Uhlmann, Chief of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, stated: "Illegal transportation of hazardous materials puts public health and the environment at risk. The defendant's efforts to conceal his illegal conduct, carried out on behalf of one of the largest handlers of dry cleaning waste in the State of California, made this a particularly egregious case and warranted the jail sentence imposed by the federal district court."

Granta Y. Nakayama, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, stated: "The defendant's flagrant disregard for the safety of the public and environment by disobeying laws regulating the handling of hazardous waste and then falsifying records to conceal it warrants the sentence meted out today. Illegal storage and disposal practices for profit will not be tolerated, and individuals, not just corporations, that refuse to comply with the law, will be vigorously prosecuted."

In order to hide permit violations from city and state inspectors, Kahoolyzadeh and his partners conspired to load drums filled with PERC waste onto trucks before inspections, shipped them off-site, and then stored them at facilities in Chino, Paramount and elsewhere that were not permitted to store hazardous wastes. The manifests for these shipments were falsified to conceal these illegal shipments.

Kahoolyzadeh's co-defendant Hormoz Pourat, Vice President of AAD, was also previously sentenced to 37 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1.29 million in restitution for conspiring to violate hazardous waste laws.

The cases were investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigations Division; the U.S. Department of Transportation; the California Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Toxic Substances Control; the City of Vernon; the Colorado State Attorney General's Office; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Release No. 06-009

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