WASHINGTON – Michelle M. Rousseff-Kemp, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, was convicted Thursday by the Fort Wayne federal court after pleading guilty to forging a document and illegally storing hazardous waste. United States District Court Judge Holly A. Brady sentenced Rousseff-Kemp to 24 months of probation and ordered her to pay a $ 5,500 fine.
According to court documents filed in this case, Rousseff-Kemp was the president and owner of a Fort Wayne, Indiana company that established itself as an environmental services company providing comprehensive waste management services. Among other things, the company acted as a transporter and intermediary of hazardous waste. Neither Rousseff-Kemp nor his company had a permit for the storage of hazardous waste.
By law, a properly prepared Hazardous Waste Manifesto must accompany hazardous waste from the waste generator to the transporter and then to the Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage and Disposal (TSD) facility, where the waste is ultimately delivered. Ultimately, a copy of the manifest bearing the signatures of the transporter and the TSD facility must be sent to the hazardous waste generator.
According to court documents, in June 2018, the Rousseff-Kemp company collected hazardous waste from another company that generated the waste. In November 2018, the waste producer sent an email to Rousseff-Kemp asking for copies of the posters for the recent hazardous waste shipments. At one point, Rousseff-Kemp asked an employee of his company to sign the name of a TSD facility representative on the June-collected waste manifest. After the employee refused, Rousseff-Kemp forged the signature of the TSD facility representative on the manifest. Rousseff-Kemp then sent a copy of the forged poster to the waste generator. The copy of the manifest contained false information purporting to prove that the hazardous waste was delivered to the TSD facility on July 15, 2018 and signed by a TSD facility representative on that date. Indeed, and as Rousseff-Kemp knows, the waste was not sent to the TSD plant and remained stored by the Rousseff-Kemp company.
“The honesty and integrity of those involved in the storage and transportation of hazardous waste are vital to protecting public health and the environment,” said Deputy Attorney General Todd Kim of the Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. of justice. “We will prosecute those who falsify records and illegally store hazardous waste.”
“Protecting public health and safety by enforcing federal criminal laws that govern the proper storage of hazardous waste is critical,” said US Attorney Clifford D. Johnson. “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.”
“The defendant falsified documents and knowingly violated the legal requirements for the proper storage of hazardous waste,” said Larry Starfield, interim assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This case shows that people who knowingly violate environmental laws will be held accountable for their crimes.”
“This ruling underscores our commitment to protecting the safety and integrity of the nation’s transportation systems,” said Special Agent in Charge Andrea Kropf of the Department of Transportation’s Office of the Midwest Region Inspector General. “By working with our law enforcement partners and prosecutors, we will continue to prosecute those who ignore the laws and regulations designed to protect the public from hazardous materials.”
In addition, according to court documents, Rousseff-Kemp arranged for another transport company to collect hazardous waste from a waste generator in March 2019. Subsequently, the hazardous waste was stored, under the direction of Rousseff. -Kemp, at his company’s facility and elsewhere until June 2019. During this period, in May 2019, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management made arrangements with Rousseff-Kemp to conduct an inspection at the facility’s his company. Prior to the scheduled inspection, Rousseff-Kemp ordered an individual to haul three trailers containing drums of waste that had been stored at the Rousseff-Kemp company’s facility in an off-site location. Among the drums of waste in the trailers were the drums of hazardous waste collected in March. Two days later, during the IDEM inspection, Rousseff-Kemp told the inspectors that the only trailers that were previously on site that week, but were not present during the inspection, were empty.
The case was initiated through the Indiana Northern District Environmental Crimes Task Force and jointly investigated by the EPA Criminal Investigation Division, the Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. , Office of Criminal Investigations. The case was pursued by Stephen J. Foster and Kris Dighe of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice’s Division for the Environment and Natural Resources, US Assistant Attorney Sarah E. Nokes, and Special Assistant by United States Attorney David P. Mucha.