South Carolina Man Indicted For Illegally Storing Hazardous Waste At Camden, New Jersey, Chemical Company And Making False Statements To The EPA
NEWARK, N.J. – A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment today against the former president and CEO of Concord Chemical Co. Inc. (Concord) for illegally storing hazardous waste and making false statements to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Miguel Castillo, 61, of Hilton Head, South Carolina, was charged with one count of storing hazardous waste at Concord’s Camden, New Jersey, facility in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and two counts of making false statements to the EPA.
According to the indictment:
RCRA was enacted in 1976 to address a growing nationwide problem with industrial and municipal waste. RCRA was designed to protect human health and the environment by prohibiting the treatment, storage or disposal of any hazardous waste without a permit. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) authorizes the EPA to remove hazardous waste from industrial sites and hold responsible parties liable for the costs.
Concord manufactured, repackaged and distributed a wide variety of chemical products, including cresylic acid, soaps, waxes, pipe lubricants and emulsions. Some of Concord’s products and the raw materials used to make them were hazardous. Castillo was Concord’s president or CEO from 2003 through August 2011. He also served as the president and director of another company, KW Inc., which repackaged and distributed commercial laundry products while leasing space from Concord’s Camden facility from May 2008 through the fall of 2009. Neither Concord nor KW had a permit to store hazardous waste at the Camden facility.
While Castillo was in charge of Concord, drums containing hazardous waste were stored in the Camden facility basement. In 2004 and 2005, Concord employees attempted to remove those drums but allegedly never finished due to claims by Castillo that Concord could not afford to remove additional drums.
By March 2010, Concord and KW had ceased operations at Concord’s Camden facility. In August 2010, the EPA conducted a site visit and discovered that the facility was devoid of employees, left in a deteriorated condition and filled with drums containing corrosive and ignitable hazardous waste. From October 2010 through March 2011, the EPA removed the hazardous substances from the facility.
On Sept. 1, 2011, the EPA requested information from Castillo in order to identify the parties responsible for EPA’s removal costs. When Castillo responded to the EPA’s requests, he failed to identify himself as Concord’s president and CEO or KW’s president and director.
The illegal storage of hazardous waste charge and each of the false statements charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss caused by the offense.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the EPA, under the direction Special Agent in Charge Vernesa Jones-Allen, with the investigation leading to today’s charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen P. O'Leary of the U.S. Attorney's Office Health Care and Government Fraud Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations against Castillo are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.