Chesapeake Virginia Ship Scrapping Company and Its Vice-President and Treasurer Indicted on Federal Charges
NORFOLK, Va. – Steven E. Avery, 55, of Bohannon, Va., and his father William J. Avery, 80, of Virginia Beach, Va., and their company S.E.A. Solutions Inc., were indicted today by a Norfolk federal grand jury for conspiring to illegally discharge pollutants into the Elizabeth River in Chesapeake, Va., in violation of the Clean Water Act. They were also charged with seven other Clean Water Act counts and one count of making false statements to an EPA investigator.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after the grand jury returned its indictment today. The Clean Water Act counts of the indictment each carry a maximum possible term of three years in prison and a potential $50,000 fine for each day the violations occurred. The conspiracy and false statements counts of the indictment each carry a maximum possible term of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
The indictment alleges a scheme to illegally discharge pollutants from M/V Snow Bird, a vessel being scrapped on a site situated on the Elizabeth River. S.E.A. Solutions Vice-President Steven Avery and Treasurer William Avery are alleged to have pumped contaminated water overboard during the scrapping process to keep the ship afloat and remove excess contaminated water and fluids from the ship. The vessel contained petroleum products that leaked into the Elizabeth River because they were not removed before scrapping.
Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.
This case was investigated by Special Agents from the EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service, and the Chesapeake Fire Marshal Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph L. Kosky and Melissa E. O’Boyle, of the Eastern District of Virginia.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.