Pest Control Company and Its Owner Charged with Unlawful Application of Pesticides and Falsification
A pest control services company and its owner have been charged today in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia with conspiracy, unlawful use of pesticides, false statements, falsification of records and mail fraud, announced Robert G. Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and Michael J. Moore, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
Steven A. Murray, 54, of Pelham, Ala., and his company, Bio-Tech Management Inc., were charged in a felony indictment with one count of conspiracy, 10 counts of making false statements, 20 counts of falsifying records, 10 counts of mail fraud and 10 counts of unlawful use of a pesticide.
The indictment alleges that from October 2005 to June 2009, Steven Murray and Bio-Tech repeatedly misapplied the registered pesticide Termidor SC in nursing homes in the state of Georgia and falsified documents to conceal the unlawful use. The indictment further alleges that Murray and Bio-Tech sent invoices through the U.S. Mail to their nursing home clients to solicit payment for the unlawful pesticide applications.
According to the indictment, Steve Murray and Bio-Tech provided monthly pest control services to nursing homes in Georgia by spraying pesticides in and around their clients’ facilities. The indictment alleges that, at the direction of Murray, Bio-Tech employees routinely applied the pesticide Termidor indoors more than twice a year, contrary to the manufacturer’s label instructions. The indictment further alleges that after the Georgia Department of Agriculture made inquiries regarding Bio-Tech’s misuse of Termidor and other pesticides, Murray directed several of his Bio-Tech employees to alter company service reports with the intent to obstruct an investigation.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations require that all pesticides be registered, properly labeled, and applied as specified by manufacturer’s labeling to protect public health and the environment.
A criminal indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual or company charged by criminal indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The falsifying records and mail fraud charge carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine per count. The false statements charges each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
These cases are being investigated by Special Agents of the EPA’s Criminal Investigations Division in Atlanta and prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Richard J. Powers and Adam C. Cullman of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, Environmental Crimes Section.