Former president of environmental services company convicted of forgery and illegal dumping of hazardous waste | USAO-NDIN – Low Calorie Diets Tips

WASHINGTON — Michelle M. Rousseff-Kemp of Fort Wayne, Indiana, was convicted Thursday in a Fort Wayne federal court after previously pleading guilty to forging a document and illegally storing hazardous waste. US District Court Judge Holly A. Brady sentenced Rousseff-Kemp to 24 months probation and a $5,500 fine.

According to court documents filed in this case, Rousseff-Kemp was the president and owner of a Fort Wayne, Indiana company posing as an environmental services company providing comprehensive waste management services. The company acted, among other things, as a hazardous waste transporter and broker. Neither Rousseff-Kemp nor her company had a permit to store hazardous waste.

By law, a properly prepared hazardous waste manifest must accompany hazardous waste from the waste generator to the carrier and then to the hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal (TSD) facility where the waste is ultimately delivered. Finally, a copy of the manifest with the signatures of the carrier and the TSD attachment must be sent to the producer of hazardous waste.

According to court documents, in June 2018, Rousseff-Kemp’s company collected hazardous waste from another company that generated the waste. In November 2018, the waste producer emailed Rousseff-Kemp asking for copies of the manifests for recent shipments of hazardous waste. At one point, Rousseff-Kemp asked an employee of her company to sign the name of a TSD plant representative on the manifest for the waste picked up in June. After the employee refused, Rousseff-Kemp forged the TSD facility representative’s signature on the list. Rousseff-Kemp then sent a copy of the fake directory to the waste producer. The copy of the manifest contained false information showing that the hazardous waste had been delivered to the TSD facility on July 15, 2018 and signed for by a TSD facility representative on that date. In truth, and as Rousseff-Kemp is aware, the waste was not sent to the TSD facility and remained stored at Rousseff-Kemp’s company.

“Honesty and integrity of those involved in the storage and transportation of hazardous waste is critical to protecting public health and the environment,” said Deputy Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Division of Environment and Natural Resources. “We will prosecute those who falsify records and dump hazardous waste illegally.”

“Protecting public health and safety by enforcing federal criminal statutes to properly dispose of hazardous waste is of paramount importance,” said US Attorney Clifford D. Johnson. “My office has strong partnerships with law enforcement agencies through which we will investigate and prosecute those who endanger public health through criminal violations of these laws.”

“The defendant forged documents and knowingly violated legal requirements for the proper storage of hazardous waste,” said Larry Starfield, acting deputy administrator of the EPO’s Enforcement and Compliance Office. “This case shows that individuals who knowingly violate environmental laws are held accountable for their crimes.”

“This conviction underscores our commitment to protecting the safety and integrity of the nation’s transportation systems,” said Special Agent in Charge Andrea Kropf of the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General Midwestern. “Working with our law enforcement and prosecution partners, we will continue to prosecute those who flout the laws and regulations designed to protect the public from hazardous materials.”

Additionally, in March 2019, according to court documents, Rousseff-Kemp arranged for another transport company to collect hazardous waste from a waste generator. Thereafter, at the direction of Rousseff-Kemp, the hazardous waste was stored at her company’s facility and elsewhere through June 2019. During that time, in May 2019, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management made arrangements with Rousseff-Kemp to conduct an inspection at the facility to carry out their company. Prior to the scheduled inspection, Rousseff-Kemp instructed a person to move three trailers containing waste drums that were being stored at Rousseff-Kemp’s company facility to another location. Under the garbage barrels in the trailers were the hazardous waste barrels that were picked up in March. Two days later, during the IDEM inspection, Rousseff-Kemp told inspectors that the only trailers that were on site earlier that week but were not present during the inspection were empty.

The case was initiated by the Northern District of Indiana’s Environmental Crimes Task Force and was investigated jointly by the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General, and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Office of Criminal Investigations. The case was prosecuted by Stephen J. Foster and Kris Dighe of the Environmental Crimes Division of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources at the Department of Justice, Assistant US Attorney Sarah E. Nokes and Assistant US Attorney David P. Mucha.

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