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PA PENNSYLVANIA LABORATORY ADMITS FRAUD

Release Date: 11/14/97
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FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 1997
PENNSYLVANIA LABORATORY ADMITS FRAUD

On Nov. 11, Hess Environmental Laboratories of East Stroudsburg, Pa. plead guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Easton to nine counts which involved making false statements, false claims, mail fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States and violating the Clean Water Act. Former Hess employees Michael Klusaritz and Judith McCoy
previously pleaded guilty. Hess admitted to defrauding hundreds of customers who were billed at least $2.1 million for environmental lab tests that were falsified or never performed. The customers, which included numerous municipalities, many environmental consulting firms and contractors, schools, the National Park Service, state agencies, Mack Trucks, the Tobyhana Army Depot, Kraft Foods, Air Products and Chemicals, and Wal-Mart among others, had used Hess to perform environmental tests such as Biological Oxygen Demand; Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons; Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Xylenes; Total Organic Halides; Volatile Organic Compounds; and the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure. Customers, EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection relied upon the truthful, complete, and accurate reporting of these tests to ensure compliance with environmental laws and to determine necessary remedies in cases where the presence of hazardous materials is indicated. As part of the plea, Hess agreed to pay at least $1.5 million in restitution and a criminal fine of an additional $2 million. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, EPA’s Office of Inspector General, and the Criminal Investigation Division of the U.S. Army, with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center.



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