CEO Convicted for Superfund Superfraud

Posted on 4/18/2016 by Roger Marks

The CEO of a Canadian environmental services company has been convicted of major fraud against the United States for orchestrating a kickback scheme that netted his firm “tens of millions of dollars in soil treatment and disposal contracts,” according to a Department of Justice press release. 

Between 2001 and 2004, the CEO of Bennett Environmental Inc. bribed the project manager of the Federal Cresote Superfund site in New Jersey with $1 million in cash, gifts, trips, and entertainment, DOJ says. In return for the kickbacks offered, Bennett Environmental was given “last looks” at their competitors’ bids.

Read the full DOJ press release here.

Read more: What’s a Superfund site?
EPA Superfund site uncontrolled hazardous waste

The kickbacks allowed the firm, a hazardous waste services company specializing in the treatment and disposal of contaminated soil, to outbid its competitors at the last minute. This, DOJ says in its press release, undermined the competitive bidding process on a Federally funded project. 

Superfund Fraud Case History

The defendant and CEO of Bennett Environmental, John Bennett, who lived and worked in Canada, was extradited to the United States to stand trial in Newark, where he was found guilty of conspiring to pay kickbacks and committing major fraud against the United States. When he’s sentenced in June, Bennet may face up to ten years and a criminal fine of $1 million or more.

The long investigation of the scheme resulted in convictions for 10 individuals and three companies. Total criminal fines and restitution levied so far amount to more than $6,000,000. Charges range from major fraud against the US to tax fraud, money laundering, and obstruction of justice.

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If you work at a Superfund site or other uncontrolled hazardous waste site covered under OSHA’s HAZWOPER Standard at 29 CFR 1910.120, refresher HAZWOPER training is required annually. For contractors actively seeking clean-up work with Federal, State, or local governments, keeping managers and personnel up to date on HAZWOPER training is critical.

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Tags: CERCLA, hazardous waste,, HAZWOPER, RCRA, Superfund

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