U.S. Attorney’s Office Partners with City of Detroit to Gather for a Community Huddle and Peace March as Part of the One Detroit Partnership
Garald Bennett of Cass City, Michigan was sentenced on Monday, March 20, 2017, to one year and one day in custody for falsely certifying and marking cargo tanks as having passed hydrostatic pressure and wet fluorescent magnetic particle test as required by the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Act, acting United States Attorney Daniel L. Lemisch announced.
Mr. Lemisch was joined in the announcement by Thomas J. Ullom, Regional Special Agent-in-Charge, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Transportation.
Bennet was sentenced by United States District Judge Thomas Ludington in Bay City, Michigan. In imposing the sentence, Judge Ludington described Bennett’s work as “dangerously ineffective.”
“The sentencing of Garald Bennett related to falsely certifying and marking certain cargo tanks as having passed required safety tests is a clear signal that severe penalties await those that would seek to circumvent hazardous materials transportation laws,” said Thomas J. Ullom, regional Special Agent-in-Charge of U.S. DOT’s Office of Inspector General. “Working with our Federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutorial colleagues, we will continue our vigorous efforts to ensure the integrity of DOT’s HAZMAT safety program.”
According to court documents, Bennett, 72, managed LPG Service and Leasing LLC (LPG), a cargo tank testing facility in Cass City, MI. In that capacity, Bennett supervised the employees of LPG. Bennett, both personally and through his subordinates, repeatedly and falsely certified to customers that LPG had property inspected and tested the cargo tank portions of tanker trucks used to transport liquid and gaseous bulk cargos, including explosive materials, as required by the Department of Transportation regulations governing five year re-certifications. The regulations are designed to ensure the safety of the public on the roadways and the people who work on and around the cargo tanks.
Bennett also knew that the water tank at LPG that should have held the water used to conduct hydrostatic pressure tests was drained to prevent freezing. Nevertheless, he continued to certify that hydrostatic pressure tests had been done on tanks brought in for inspection.
Similarly, when Bennett was in charge at LPG, some of the cargo tanks that were supposed to be tested were not emptied and cleaned properly, making it impossible for workers to enter the cargo tanks to conduct the required testing procedure. Bennett nevertheless falsely certified that the cargo tanks had been properly subject to wet fluorescent magnetic particle testing and had passed inspection.
Knowing that the required testing procedures had not been followed, Bennett instructed the employees at LPG to apply labels to the cargo tanks that indicated that the tanks had been successfully tested. Moreover, Bennett directed employees to work on cargo tanks without verifying that the employees followed required procedures.
The case was investigated by agents of OIG- U.S. Department of Transportation and prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in Bay City, Michigan.