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North Carolina Oil Refinery and Three Individuals Plead in Oil Pollution/ Tax Evasion Case

Release Date: 12/19/2002
Contact Information:


Teresa Libera 202-564-7873/libera.teresa@epa.gov

(12/19/02) High Rise Services Co. Inc., of Leland, N.C., and three individuals: Andrew Jackson Simmons, Jr., of Wilmington, N.C.; Anthony Paul Norris of Leland, N.C.; and Terry Ray Hill of Rocky Point, N.C., all pleaded guilty on Dec. 9 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina in Wilmington. The federal charges related to the operation of High Rise’s business of re-refining used oils into useable products and cleaning storage tanks. High Rise plead guilty to conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act, the unlawful discharge of oil onto the shoreline and into surface waters, and improper storage of used oil. When sentenced, the company could receive a maximum fine of $2 million or twice the gain that resulted from the violations. The plea also calls for the company to pay restitution, publish a public notice of violation, make public speeches regarding its violations, develop a compliance program and conduct annual training for management and staff. Simmons plead guilty to the negligent discharge of oil, failing to report a spill and tax evasion. When sentenced, he could receive a maximum sentence of up to 16 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $850,000. Norris plead guilty to the negligent discharge of pollutants and making false statements to the Coast Guard. When sentenced, he could receive a maximum sentence of up to six years in prison and/or a fine of up to $350,000. Hill plead guilty to tax evasion and when sentenced, could receive a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $500,000. Releasing oil into surface waters can make the waters unfit for recreation and drinking and can cause significant harm to fish and wildlife. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office, the U.S. Coast Guard Criminal Investigation Division, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Investigative assistance was provided by EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.