News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

WEDNESDAY - March 11, 2009

MOCKSVILLE OFFICIAL SENTENCED

NEW BERN - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today Chief United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced DANIEL L. SMITH, 65, of Mocksville, North Carolina to a 12-month and one day term of imprisonment for conspiring to commit a number of federal offenses. SMITH served as the public works director for the Town of Mocksville, North Carolina. In that capacity, SMITH utilized other employees of the Town in conspiring to violate a number of federal statutes as outlined below.

First, SMITH conspired with others to submit false statements within a matter of federal jurisdiction. As part of his official responsibilities as public works director, SMITH oversaw the Town’s public drinking water system. Pursuant to the federal Safe Water Drinking Act and related regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Town had to send data relating to the “turbidity,” the cloudiness or haziness, of the water being sent to the Town’s residents to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Raleigh. Turbidity is a key measure of water quality and cleanliness. SMITH instructed employees to send false data. This false data understated the turbidity of the drinking water being sent to Town residents.

Second, SMITH conspired to violate the Clean Water Act by utilizing Town employees to pour massive amounts of degreaser and caustic, a corrosive chemical, into the Town’s publicly owned treatment works in violation of the Clean Water Act. SMITH, who received a kick-back for having the Town purchase these chemicals, dumped them in order to justify purchasing additional quantities. The introduction of these pollutants caused the Town to violate requirements imposed on it by the State of North carolina regarding the cleanliness of the water discharged by its waste water treatment plant.

Third, SMITH conspired to misapply Town property, after the Town had received over $10,000 in federal grant money. SMITH created “Danny Smith Enterprises,” and through this company provided maintenance and repair services to other towns and private citizens for a personal profit. SMITH utilized Town of Mocksville equipment and employees, while on the clock for the Town, to run this company without either receiving permission from the Town or reimbursing the Town for use of it’s equipment or personnel. At times, SMITH also illegitimately used state inmates who had been assigned to work on Town projects as laborers for Danny Smith Enterprises.

In commenting on the case, George E.B. Holding, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina stated: “When public officials choose to damage the environment, utlize public resources for private gain, and betray the public trust regarding something as important as the water that we drink, they will be held accountable for their misdeeds.”

Maureen O'Mara, Special Agent in Charge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division in Atlanta, commented: “The defendants abused their public authority, misled the public, and put Mocksville’s drinking water supply at risk. If you ‘cut corners’ and commit environmental crimes, you will be prosecuted.”

Investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jason Cowley served as prosecutor for the government.

 

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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