President Of Chen-Serve Corporation Sentenced
For False Statements To Regulators Regarding
Hazardous Waste Storage And Disposal
Aramais Moloian, 76, owner of a Detroit chemical, soaps and dyes business was sentenced to one year in prison, with the recommendation that it be served in a residential re-entry facility, in U.S. District Court today on charges that he made a false statement to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) regarding his illegal storage and disposal of hazardous waste, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today. Joining McQuade in the announcement was Randall Ashe, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Environmental Protection Agency's criminal enforcement program in Michigan.
Moloian was also ordered to pay $2,786,062.06 to the Environmental Protection Agency as restitution for the expenditure of government funds to clean-up the Chem-Serve site in 2008.
Aramais Moloian, President and owner of Chem-Serve Corporation, located at 9501 and 9505 Copland Street in Detroit, Michigan, stored and disposed
of hazardous waste on his property for the period between November 9,
2005, through March 26, 2008. Inspectors with the (MDEQ) inspected the site on or about October 15, 2005, and August 18, 2006, and issued Letters of Warning (LOWs) regarding possible violations of state and federal environmental laws regarding storage and disposal of liquid industrial waste. In one of his responses to MDEQ, on or about April 14, 2007, Moloian stated that “[o]ut of a multitude of products stored, there are just a few items that can be considered waste.” He repeated in the letter that “we have very few items that can be considered as waste.” In reality, the defendant knew that a vast majority of the thousands of gallons of hazardous materials being stored on site without a permit were, in fact, waste.
“Protecting our environment is so important to our citizens and future generations in Michigan," McQuade said. "We hope that cases like this one will cause businesses to take seriously their legal duty to handle hazardous waste appropriately."
"The defendant's storage practices created a risk of explosion and fire and threatened groundwater supplies," Ashe said. "He made a bad situation even worse by making false statements to state authorities. Governments need complete and accurate documents to assure compliance with environmental laws. False information undermines our efforts to protect the public and the environment. Today's sentence should serve as a warning that anyone who knowingly falsifies official documents will be prosecuted."
The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Michigan by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Blackwell and Special Assistant United States Attorney Crissy Pellegrin, with the EPA Office of Regional Counsel in Chicago. The case was investigated by agents with EPA and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Law Enforcement Division, Environmental Investigation Section.