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CRACKDOWN CONTINUES ON FALSE LAB REPORTS SCHEME

Release Date: 11/29/2001
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FOR RELEASE: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2001
CRACKDOWN CONTINUES ON FALSE LAB REPORTS SCHEME

Luke C. Hester 202-564-7818/hester.luke@epa.gov


A guilty plea today to lying to EPA investigators represents the latest in the federal prosecution of those involved in a long-running scheme to falsify laboratory reports to make it appear as if gasoline met EPA standards for cleaner burning fuel, when it did not. Richard M. Kaminski, former president of a national testing laboratory, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for conspiring to mislead EPA investigators about a scheme to falsify chemical analyses involving hundreds of millions of gallons of reformulated gasoline (RFG). According to today’s plea, Kaminiski, then president of Caleb Brett U.S.A. Inc., a subsidiary of London-based Intertek Testing Services Inc., encouraged employees between 1988 and 1997 at the company’s facilities in Linden, N.J., and Puerto Rico to alter no.6 fuel oil results to benefit Caleb Brett’s clients. Accordingly, results were reported that were different than those reflected by the analytical instruments used to test the fuel. On this guilty plea, Kaminski faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. In conjunction with the scheme, the company was sentenced on April 12 to pay a $1-million fine and serve three years probation. The company admitted involvement in a scheme to change data on tests on RFG samples from 1995 through 1997. Approximately 200-300 million gallons of the substandard gasoline were distributed in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Cleaner-burning RFG is required by EPA in some states to reduce air pollutants that can cause a variety of respiratory diseases. The requirement, under the Clean Air Act, calls for controlling the levels of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere by limiting the amount of sulfur in fuel oils. A significant source of sulfur dioxide is power plants which burn residual oils, such as no.6 fuel oil. Independent testing laboratories, such as Caleb Brett, are employed by buyers and sellers of petroleum products to determine whether those products meet federal and state regulatory standards and commercial requirements. Today’s plea took place in federal court in Newark, N.J. The case was investigated by EPA Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Postal Service with the assistance of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center. The U.S. Department of Justice prosecuted the case.

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