Additional Violations Of The Clean Water Act Filed Against Former Greenfield Township Sewer Authority Manager
WILLIAMSPORT - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Bruce Evans, Sr., age 67, former Greenfield Township Sewer Authority Manager, Greenfield Township, Pennsylvania, was charged on May 28, 2020, in a thirty-six count superseding indictment by the federal grand jury with additional violations of the Clean Water Act.
According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Evans, Sr. and his son, Bruce Evans, Jr., age 38, both of Greenfield Township, were previously charged in an initial indictment returned in January 2019. The superseding indictment alleges that at times material to the charges, Evans, Sr. was a Greenfield Township Supervisor, a Greenfield Township Sewer Authority Board Member, Manager of the Greenfield Township Sewer Authority, and the Township’s “roadmaster.” Evans, Jr. was an employee of both Greenfield Township and the Greenfield Township Sewer Authority. It is alleged that on various dates between April 2013 and December 2017, Evans, Sr. and Evans, Jr. failed to operate and manage the municipality’s waste water treatment plant in accordance with regulations and limitations specified in a permit issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) and the Environmental Protections Agency (EPA). The permit requires that the permittee at all times maintain in good working order, and properly operate and maintain all facilities and systems, which were installed and used by the permittee to achieve compliance with the terms and conditions of the permits. It is also alleged that as a result of such failures, pollutants were discharged in violation of the permit.
The superseding indictment charges Evans, Sr. with additional violations of the Clean Water Act specifically related to the Greenfield Township Sewer Authority’s pump station located at State Route 106. It is alleged that Evans, Sr., rather than the licensed operator hired by the Authority to operate the treatment plant, managed and operated the sewer lines and pump stations. It is alleged that Evans, Sr. was not certified by the PADEP to operate or manage the pump stations. The violations associated with the State Route 106 pump station involve multiple unlawful bypasses of sewage, sanitary sewage overflows, and Evans, Sr.’s failure to report the same to the PADEP. It is also alleged that Evans, Sr. failed to notify the PADEP of the actual amount of hauled-in waste dumped directly into the State Route 106 pump station by an outside hauler, all in violation of the PADEP permit issued to the Authority. The PADEP learned that the Greenfield Township Sewer Authority was accepting hauled-in waste when it received complaints about odors and sewage overflows at that location, and started to investigate.
The superseding indictment further alleges that Evans, Sr. engaged in a scheme to defraud the Greenfield Township Sewer Authority by fraudulently converting funds and property of the Sewer Authority for his own personal benefit and for the benefit of a family member, including unlawful payments for a personal cell phone and internet service, fueling of personal vehicles, educational expenses, and unlawful use of Greenfield Township Sewer Authority labor. Evans, Sr. is also charged with obstructing U.S. Mail correspondence.
“When citizens elect officials at any level, we put our trust in them to act on behalf of their constituents – not against their interests,” said U.S. Attorney Freed. “Theft, fraud, self-dealing and nepotism are not part of the job description. And what makes this case worse is the environmental damage inflicted on top of the other crimes. I commend and appreciate the hard work of our state and local partners in this case and look forward to presenting our case in court.”
“It's a problem when a municipal employee views their job as not just a paycheck, but a personal piggy bank,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division. “The fraud and serious environmental violations alleged here indicate both a disdain for the rule of law and a clear-cut case of greed. The FBI stands ready to investigate and hold accountable anyone engaged in such criminal activity.”
“Proper operation of sewage treatment plants is essential to protect human health and the environment”, said Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Lynn of the EPA Criminal Investigations Division in Pennsylvania. “The EPA holds those accountable for their conduct which puts our communities infrastructure at risk.”
The charges stem from an investigation jointly conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Olshefski is prosecuting the case.
Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.
A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
In this case, the Clean Water Act violations are punishable by up to 3 years’ imprisonment and a sliding scale for fines of $5,000 to $25,000 per violation, per day. The maximum penalty under the Wire Fraud statute is 20 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty under the Obstruction of Correspondence statute is 5 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Each crime also carries a term of supervised release following imprisonment. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.
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