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LELAND, NC (WECT) – A Leland oil company president was indicted Wednesday on charges related to disposing contaminated oil, according to a news release from United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker.
A federal grand jury returned a 19-count criminal indictment on P&W Waste Oil Services, Inc. president Benjamin Franklin Pass, 59, for unlawful transportation, storage and disposal of used oil containing PCBs. He was also indicted for money laundering and providing materially false statements, the release said.
“PCB-contaminated waste oil poses a significant and persistent threat to the community and the environment and must
be disposed of legally, " stated Maureen O'Mara, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Environmental Protection Agency's Criminal Enforcement Program in Atlanta. "Those who disregard the law put the public and the environment at risk and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
In 2009, a contract employee of P&W took oil from five transformers in South Carolina to the P&W facility and told Pass that it was there. Pass did not notify the Environmental Protection Agency and didn’t follow guidelines specified in the Toxic Substances Control Act, according to the indictment.
Between Sept. 1 and Sept. 15, 2009, Pass and P&W employees transported more than 130,000 gallons of contaminated oil to a facility in Wilmington. Pass also lied to customers about the contaminated oil and bought false safety training certifications, which were presented during annual inspections.
For each of the 14 counts related to the transportation, storage and disposal of the contaminated oil, the maximum penalty is one year of jail. For the wire fraud and money laundering charges, Pass faces up to 20 years and 10 years, respectively. Also, a five-year sentence is possible for the false statements charge. If convicted, that means Pass could face up to 49 years in prison.
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