Feds: president of environmental services company falsified documents; hazardous waste stored illegally

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a Fort Wayne woman to two years’ probation for falsifying documents and illegally storing hazardous waste at her local company.

Michelle M. Rouseff-Kemp had previously pleaded guilty to a forgery count and illegal hazardous waste storage count last year, according to the US borough.

According to various state and federal court records, he owned and acted as president of K-Com Transport Services, Inc., also known as KCOM Environmental, which was advertised as an environmental services company that provided comprehensive waste management services.

Located at 1021 E. Wallace St., the company operated as a hazardous waste transporter and broker without ever having acquired proper permission to do so, according to federal prosecutors.

“The defendant falsified documents and knowingly violated the legal requirements for the proper storage of hazardous waste,” said Larry Starfield, acting assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, in a declaration. “This case shows that people who knowingly violate environmental laws will be held accountable for their crimes.”

According to federal court documents, the Rousseff-Kemp company collected hazardous waste from another company that generated the waste in June 2018. That November, the waste producer sent Rousseff-Kemp an email asking copies of posters for recent shipments of hazardous waste.

At one point, Rousseff-Kemp asked an employee of his company to forge the signature of a representative at a treatment, storage and disposal facility – where the waste is supposed to end up – on that waste manifest. When the employee refused, Rousseff-Kemp forged the signature.

He sent the poster back to the waste generator with false information that the waste had been delivered to the treatment plant when in fact it was still at the Rousseff-Kemp business, according to court documents.

Then, Rousseff-Kemp arranged for another transport company to collect hazardous waste from a waste generator in March 2019, according to court documents. That waste was stored at his business and elsewhere until June 2019.

During that time, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management made arrangements with Rousseff-Kemp to conduct an inspection at his facility. Prior to that inspection, Rousseff-Kemp told someone he knew to haul three trailers containing drums of waste from his company’s facility to an offsite location, court documents said.

Two days later, he told IDEM inspectors that the only trailers that were previously at his business that week weren’t present but were empty.

This raised suspicions and soon the Indiana Northern District Environmental Crimes Task Force launched an investigation.

“Protecting public health and safety by enforcing federal criminal laws that govern the proper storage of hazardous waste is critical,” US Attorney Clifford D. Johnson said in a statement. “My office has strong partnerships with law enforcement through which we will investigate and prosecute those who endanger public health due to criminal violations of these laws.”

Rousseff-Kemp was also sentenced to pay a $ 5,500 fine.

As part of his plea bargain, he must refrain from engaging in any business or occupation associated with waste management or the storage or transport of hazardous waste, and also may not own, use or operate any trucks or equipment necessary for that business.

While there is still a website for his business, calls to the Fort Wayne number fail to connect.

In recent years, Rousseff-Kemp has faced various lawsuits in Allen Super Court for non-payment of lines of credit or rental fees for trucks and equipment used by his company.

Since 2018, she has been ordered to pay more than $ 700,000 in settlements, according to court records.

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