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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Owner And Manager Of Plymouth Environmental Company Charged In Fraud Conspiracy Related To Disposal Of Toxic Chemicals

Acting United States Attorney Gregory G. Brooker today announced an indictment charging LUMINAIRE ENVIRONMENTAL AND TECHNOLOGIES, INC., JOHN D. MILLER JR., 60, and JOSEPH V. MILLER, 57, with conspiracy, multiple counts of wire fraud, mail fraud and falsifying documents. The defendants will make their initial appearances in U.S. District Court at a later date.

 

According to the indictment, LUMINAIRE ENVIRONMENTAL AND TECHNOLOGIES, INC. (“LUMINAIRE”), purported to be a recycling and waste disposal business that offered to pick up customers’ fluorescent light ballasts containing polychlorinated biphenyls (“PCBs”), transport the PCB-containing ballasts to the LUMINAIRE facility located in Plymouth, Minn., and remove and dispose of all the PCBs in accordance with the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). LUMINAIRE charged customers a significant fee for this service because the PCBs contained in the ballasts were considered a toxic chemical, and regulations promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) mandate special procedures for disposal of these materials. 

 

According to the indictment, from 2010 until 2015, JOHN and JOE MILLER, owner and manager, respectively, of LUMINAIRE, orchestrated a fraudulent scheme designed to generate business for LUMINAIRE by making false representations to customers that LUMINAIRE would properly dispose of customers’ toxic chemicals. Instead, after picking up loads of PCB-ballasts from customers, LUMINAIRE’s employees, at the direction of JOHN and JOE MILLER, would remove or otherwise obscure labels from the containers holding the PCB-ballasts, and then sell the PCB-ballasts as scrap metal to nearby metal recycling facilities. By doing so, JOHN and JOE MILLER were able to charge customers a significant fee for work that was never actually performed and obtain additional profits by fraudulently selling the PCB-ballasts to scrap yards.  Additionally, in order to conceal the true destination and disposal of customers’ toxic chemicals, JOHN and JOE MILLER and others would falsely certify on shipping manifests that the PCB-ballasts had been properly transported to LUMINAIRE’S facility. As a result of the scheme, LUMINAIRE fraudulently collected more than $1,000,000 in fees and additional profits.

 

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin F. Langner and Amber M. Brennan.

 

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 

 

Defendant Information:

 

LUMINAIRE ENVIRONMENTAL AND TECHNOLOGIES, INC.

Plymouth, Minn.

 

Charges:

  • Conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, 1 count
  • Mail Fraud, 5 counts
  • Wire Fraud, 10 counts
  • False entry in records, 6 counts

 

JOHN D. MILLER JR., 60

Plymouth, Minn.

 

Charges:

  • Conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, 1 count
  • Mail Fraud, 5 counts
  • Wire Fraud, 10 counts
  • False entry in records, 6 counts

 

JOSEPH V. MILLER, 57

Chanhassen, Minn.

 

Charges:

  • Conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, 1 count
  • Mail Fraud, 5 counts
  • Wire Fraud, 10 counts
  • False entry in records, 6 counts

 

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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600

 

The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Environment
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated September 20, 2017