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Press Release

Former Fulton County Tannery Owner Ordered to Pay Restitution for Clean-up of Hazardous Waste

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York
Robert Carville Must Pay $369,693.58 in Restitution to EPA as Part of Felony Conviction

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Robert Carville, age 57, formerly of Johnstown, New York, was ordered today to pay $369,693.58 in restitution to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reimburse it for its expenses incurred in removing hazardous waste that Carville stored without a permit at the former Carville National Leather Corporation building in Johnstown.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Tyler Amon, Special Agent in Charge of the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division (EPA-CID) in New York.

Carville National Leather Corporation was a family owned tannery business that operated in Johnstown, New York, from 1976 until it closed in September 2013. Robert Carville owned and operated the business for approximately 10 years prior to its closure.

Carville pled guilty in December 2018 to one felony count of illegally storing hazardous waste without a permit. As part of his guilty plea, Carville admitted that as the owner and manager of the tannery, he was responsible for the materials stored there when it ceased operations. Following the closure of the business, Carville moved out of state, leaving hundreds of containers of hazardous chemicals inside the abandoned tannery building. Some of these were labeled as “corrosive,” “acidic,” and “hazardous.” Carville did not have a permit to store hazardous materials. Chemicals began leaking from the tannery building approximately two years after Carville abandoned it. In light of the tannery’s proximity to multiple residences and to a local creek, EPA deemed it a Superfund site and incurred substantial expenses in cleaning up and removing the chemicals over a several-month period.

On July 22, 2019, Senior United States District Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. sentenced Carville to serve a 2-year term of probation. However, the Court deferred until today a determination on any restitution Carville owed EPA as part of the sentence. The parties presented evidence and testimony regarding restitution at an evidentiary hearing in December 2019. After reviewing that evidence and considering legal briefs filed by the parties, Senior District Judge Scullin today issued an order directing Carville, as part of his sentence, to pay $369,693.58 in restitution to EPA.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division (EPA-CID), and it was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael F. Perry.

Updated May 15, 2020