2000 News Releases
Hydro-Analysis President, Lab Director, and Company Sentenced For Lab Fraud
Release Date: 11/20/2000
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith (215) 814-5543
Bonnie Smith (215) 814-5543
PHILADELPHIA -- Randy S. Haring, the president of Hydro-Analysis Associates, Inc. of Kutztown, Pa., and Robert J. Spare, the former company’s laboratory director, were sentenced today for their role in falsifying their customers’ environmental testing results.
U.S. District Judge Franklin S. Van Antwerpen sentenced Mr. Spare to 18 months imprisonment and three years of probation. Randy Haring was sentenced to six months house arrest and five years of probation. The corportation was sentenced to a $500,000 fine. The three defendants are jointly and severally liable for $481,073 restitution to be paid to defrauded clients. The defendants previously pleaded guilty to several criminal violations.
“The public depends on environmental laboratories to be honest and accurate in their testing to let us know that the air, water, and land are safe and free of contamination. This case sends a clear signal that we will not hesitate to prosecute companies and individuals who abuse the public trust,” said Bradley Campbell regional adminstrator of the mid-Atlantic region.
A joint federal-state investigation of Hydro-Analysis uncovered evidence that the company performed fraudulent analysis of drinking water, wastewater, and soil between 1994 and 1998. As of July 15, 1999, Haring, Spare, and the company pleaded guilty to falsely representing to customers that they were using proper laboratory testing instruments, equipment and EPA-certified methods in tests conducted on drinking water, soils and underground storage tanks, and other environmental tests of wastewater.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher praised the investigation, stating, “EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and Pennsylvania’s Environmental Crimes Section uncovered serious environmental testing problems.”
The investigation found Hydro-Analysis’ testing for hazardous wastes and public drinking water included: 1) fabricating test results, 2) failing to follow required EPA-approved test methods, 3) failing to use essential testing equipment, 4) improperly calibrating test instruments, 5) using improper analytical methods, 6) and failing to follow minimal quality assurance procedures.
Hydro-Analysis took steps to conceal these deficiencies during the Commonwealth’s laboratory certification inspections. Two weeks after a criminal search warrant was served by agents, the laboratory closed its business in December 1998. During the investigation, EPA’s National Enforcement Investigation Center Computer Forensics Group and the Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Laboratories assisted in the efforts to uncover the fraud.
In, December, 1999 EPA sent letters to all of the 4,000 known former customers of Hydro-Analysis to notify them of the situation. Former customers included environmental consultants and cleanup contractors, schools and child care centers, municipalities, food processors, realtors, and other laboratories. Since then, EPA and PaDEP have been working with former customers to address concerns about suspect test data, retesting, and possible restitution claims under federal victims’ protection statutes.
A growing trend of environmental testing fraud had prompted investigation of lab fraud. This is the third successful prosecution of environmental lab fraud since 1997. All have resulted in closing the laboratories and prison terms for company officials.
In 1997 and 1998, Hess Environmental Laboratories of East Stroudsburg, Pa., its former president William Hopkins, and former lab director Judith McCoy pleaded guilty to a conspiracy involving more than $2.2 million worth of fraudulent or inaccurate tests. Hopkins was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, fined $40,000, and ordered to pay $291,000 in restitution to defrauded customers. Ms. McCoy was sentenced to 36 months probation and fined $10,000, and restitution of $27,000 for her role in the crime. Hess Environmental Laboratories continues to be responsible for paying restitution for defrauded clients.
In October 1997, Michael Klusaritz, a former Hess lab director who established Phase II Laboratories, Inc. in Catasauqua, Pa., was sentenced to one year imprisonment and $40,000 restitution for fraudulent water and hazardous waste analyses while working at Hess and Phase II.