Former Lakeland Man Charged With Storing Hazardous Waste
Tampa, FL – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the unsealing of an indictment charging Marian Walas (65, Lakeland) with storage of hazardous waste without a permit, in violation of the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA). If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $50,000 per day of the violation. Walas was arrested in Atlanta on February 14, 2018.
According to the indictment, Walas was the president and manager of Rincat LLC (now defunct), a business that recycled automotive catalytic converters to recover the precious metal catalysts, mostly consisting of platinum, palladium, and rhodium. This recycling process generated hazardous waste, including chloride, sulfuric acid, and various heavy metals. Between August and December 2010, Walas allegedly stored this hazardous, corrosive, and toxic waste at a warehouse in Lakeland for a period more than 90 days without a permit issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency or the state of Florida, as required by the RCRA.
Specifically, between March and June 2010, Walas/Rincat hired a waste disposal company to remove eight loads (37,150 gallons) of hazardous waste from Rincat’s warehouse. On June 15, 2010, there were at least 21 containers of hazardous waste present. Walas/Rincat were evicted from the warehouse by the property owner on August 24, 2010. The following month, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) discovered approximately 38,550 gallons of hazardous waste left behind at the warehouse. Thereafter, the property owner worked with FDEP to properly dispose of the hazardous waste at a total cost of approximately $83,000.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel George and Kelley Howard-Allen.