Corporation And Two Owners Sentenced For Scheme To Illegally Dispose Of Industrial Wastewater
BATON ROUGE, LA - United States Attorney Walt Green announced today that Senior U.S. District Judge James J. Brady has sentenced RAM ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, LLC, RAYMOND MARCEL, JR., and CYRIL D. ROBICHEAUX, for their roles in a criminal scheme to violate the federal environmental laws.
In June 2013, the three defendants pled guilty to bills of information charging them with a conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and to violate the Safe Drinking Water Act. In connection with their convictions, the defendants had admitted that, in 2011 and 2012, they conspired with themselves and others to illegally discharge industrial wastewater at locations in Belle River, Louisiana, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and to otherwise obstruct the enforcement of the federal environmental laws through kickbacks, the creation and use of false documents, and other fraudulent means.
RAM ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, LLC, an entity incorporated in the State of Louisiana and doing business in Morgan City, Louisiana, was sentenced today to make restitution in the amount of $114,969.13 to FAS Environmental Services (“FAS”), based in Belle River, Louisiana, a transportation and disposal company that is primarily in the business of transporting industrial wastewater using a fleet of tanker trucks. RAM was also sentenced to pay a $50,000 fine and a $400 special assessment. RAM was also placed on federal probation for a term of two (2) years.
MARCEL, age 62, of Berwick, Louisiana, was sentenced to a 2-year term of probation, a $1,500 fine, restitution in the amount of $114,969.13 to FAS, and a $100 special assessment. ROBICHEAUX, age 53, of Morgan City, Louisiana, was also sentenced to a 2-year term of probation, a $5,000 fine, full restitution to FAS, and a special assessment.
Today’s sentencing hearings were preceded by the sentencing of Michael J. Vaughn, who was sentenced in October 2013 to twelve (12) months of incarceration at a federal half-way house, a 5-year term of probation, forfeiture of approximately $23,000, and restitution to FAS. In a related case, Roger J. Dies of Zachary, Louisiana is awaiting sentencing as a result of his convictions for failing to report third party wastewater discharges in violation of the Clean Water Act, and obstruction of justice.
U.S. Attorney Green stated, “We will continue to pursue those who commit criminal violations of the federal environmental laws and devote the necessary resources to successfully handle such complex matters. Violators in this district should expect to become convicted felons facing stiff penalties.”
“The defendants admitted they conspired to illegally dispose of huge quantities of industrial wastewaters,” said Daniel Pflaster, Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Louisiana. “Today’s sentence shows that when businesses and their owners break environmental laws and defraud honest businesses who pay to have their wastes disposed of legally, they will be prosecuted.”
“The sentencing today is a testament to the hard work and dedication amongst our agency and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, who work together to bring violators to justice,” said DEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch. “The legal handling, treatment and disposal of wastewater are very serious matters, as violations have a negative, direct impact to our health and environment. We will continue to aggressively prosecute individuals and businesses found to be in violation of environmental laws through illegal disposal methods. Anyone with information on illegal activity is asked to contact DEQ and local law enforcement so that we may initiate an investigation as soon as possible.”
U.S. Attorney Green emphasized that FAS ownership was unaware of the defendants’ scheme. FAS terminated the employment of Vaughn, its former operations manager, upon learning of the scheme and cooperated fully.
The matter is being conducted by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Criminal Investigation Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. The matter is being prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey R. Amundson, who serves as Chief of the Criminal Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan A. Stevens, who serves as a Deputy Chief.