Rush City Woman Sentenced to Prison for Role in $1.8 Million Scheme Involving Romance Fraud and Federal Pandemic Programs
United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the sentencing of LUMINAIRE ENVIRONMENTAL AND TECHNOLOGIES, INC., and co-defendants JOHN D. MILLER JR., 61, and JOSEPH V. MILLER, 59, for a $1 million fraud scheme involving the improper disposal of toxic waste. Defendants LUMINAIRE and JOHN MILLER were sentenced today before Judge Patrick J. Schiltz in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Defendant JOSEPH MILLER was sentenced on March 5, 2019.
According to the defendants’ guilty pleas and documents filed in court, LUMINAIRE ENVIRONMENTAL AND TECHNOLOGIES, INC. (“LUMINAIRE”) provided recycling and waste disposal services to customers. Among other services, LUMINAIRE offered to pick up customers’ fluorescent light ballasts containing polychlorinated biphenyls (“PCBs”), transport the PCB-containing ballasts to the LUMINAIRE facility located in Plymouth, Minnesota, and remove and dispose of all the PCBs in accordance with the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). In exchange, LUMINAIRE charged customers a fee of approximately $0.35 per pound of PCB lighting ballasts plus transportation costs. Because the PCBs contained in the ballasts are considered a toxic chemical, regulations promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), pursuant to TSCA, mandate special procedures and documentation for the transportation and disposal of PCB waste.
According to the defendants’ guilty pleas and documents filed in court, between 2010 until 2015, JOHN MILLER, owner of LUMINAIRE, and other LUMINAIRE employees falsely represented to customers that LUMINAIRE would properly transport and dispose of customers’ toxic chemicals. Instead, after picking up loads of PCB-ballasts from customers, JOHN MILLER instructed LUMINAIRE employees to remove warning labels from the containers holding the PCB-ballasts, and then sell the PCB-ballasts as scrap metal to scrap yards and metal recycling facilities. In order to conceal the fact that the PCB-ballasts had not been received and processed at LUMINAIRE’S facility, JOHN MILLER directed LUMINAIRE employees, including JOSEPH MILLER, to falsely certify on shipping manifests that the PCB-ballasts had arrived at LUMINAIRE’S facility. At JOHN MILLER’S direction, LUMINAIRE employees also sent copies of the falsified shipping documentation by mail to customers and to certain state environmental agencies. In addition, JOHN MILLER instructed LUMINAIRE employees to prepare and deliver falsified invoices to customers who, in turn, made payments to LUMINAIRE. As a result of the scheme, LUMINAIRE fraudulently collected more than $1,000,000 in fees and additional profits.
This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Hennepin County Department of Environmental Protection.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin F. Langner and Amber M. Brennan prosecuted this case.
LUMINAIRE ENVIRONMENTAL AND TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
JOHN D. MILLER JR., 61
JOSEPH V. MILLER, 59
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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600