Former Greenfield Township Sewer Authority Manager Found Guilty Of Clean Water Act Violations And Wire Fraud
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania
SCRANTON—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Bruce Evans, Sr., age 68, and Bruce Evans, Jr., age 40, both of Greenfield Township, were found guilty on December 17, 2021, after trial of multiple counts of Clean Water Act violations that occurred at the Greenfield Township wastewater treatment plant beginning in 2013 through 2017. Evans, Sr. was also found guilty of multiple counts of wire fraud and obstruction of correspondence. The trial took place before United States District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion.
According to United States Attorney John C. Gurganus, Evans, Sr. and Evans, Jr. knowingly failed to operate and maintain the municipality’s wastewater treatment plant in accordance with regulations and limitations specified in a permit issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) and the United States 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. As a result of the defendants’ failures, pollutants were discharged in violation of the permit on multiple occasions.
Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the EPA presented testimony from 34 witnesses over the course of a trial that began on November 15, 2021 and ended on December 17, 2021. Witnesses included Greenfield Township Sewer Authority (GTSA) board members, Greenfield Township Supervisors, FBI and EPA Special Agents, and multiple PADEP inspectors and supervisors.
Throughout the time covered by the charges, Evans, Sr. was a Greenfield Township Supervisor, a Greenfield Township employee, a GTSA Board Member, and Manager of the GTSA. Evans, Jr. was an employee of Greenfield Township and the GTSA. Evans, Sr. was convicted of twenty (20) counts of Clean Water Act violations; four (4) counts of wire fraud involving the misappropriation of GTSA funds for his personal benefit and the benefit of his family; and four (4) counts of obstruction of PADEP certified mail addressed to his fellow GTSA board members but intercepted by Evans, Sr. Evans, Jr. was convicted of four (4) counts of Clean Water Act violations, and one (1) count of submitting a false statement to the PADEP related to representations and certifications made by Evans, Jr. regarding his professional work experience.
The evidence presented at trial established that after many years of permit non-compliance at the GTSA, the EPA and FBI initiated a criminal investigation in late 2013, which involved the use of covert cameras positioned to surveil activity at the actual GTSA facility and a pump station located on Route 106 in Greenfield Township. The investigation uncovered repeated warnings about deficient facility inspections, permit non-compliance, community complaints about foul odors and visible raw sewage routinely overflowing from the Route 106 pump station, and false statements reported to the PADEP by both Evans Sr. and Evans, Jr. It was also learned that information concerning deficient plant operations and clean water act violations was routinely conveyed directly to Evans, Sr. as the GTSA’s responsible corporate officer from the PADEP, but Evans, Sr. concealed that information from his fellow GTSA board members over a period of many years.
The investigation was jointly conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Criminal Investigations Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Scranton Field Office, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection - Northeast Region. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Olshefski and EPA Attorneys W. Martin Harrell and Patricia C. Miller prosecuted the case.
The maximum penalty under federal law for wire fraud is 20 years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The Obstruction of Correspondence violations carry a maximum of 5 years’ imprisonment. The Clean Water Act violations carry a maximum of 3 years’ 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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Updated December 20, 2021