Memphis, TN – A Tennessee woman today pleaded guilty to fabricating discharge monitoring reports required under the Clean Water Act and submitting those fraudulent documents to regulators in the states of Tennessee and Mississippi.
According to court documents and public information, DiAne Gordon, 61, of Memphis, Tennessee, was a co-owner and CEO of Environmental Compliance and Testing (ECT). ECT marketed itself to the public as a full-service environmental consulting company and offered, among other things, stormwater, process water and wastewater sampling and analysis.
Customers, typically concrete companies, hired ECT to take samples and analyze them in accordance with the requirements of the Clean Water Act permit. Gordon claimed to collect and send the samples to a full-service environmental testing lab. The alleged results were documented in laboratory reports and chain of custody forms submitted to two state agencies, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), to satisfy requirements. permit requirements. In fact, Gordon fabricated the test results and related reports. She even falsified documents from a testing laboratory known to prosecute her crime. Gordon then billed his clients for the sampling and analysis. Law enforcement and regulators quickly determined that Gordon had created and submitted, or had submitted, at least 405 false lab reports and chain-of-custody forms from his Memphis company to state regulators since 2017.
Pursuant to the terms of his plea agreement, Gordon will pay $ 201,388.88 in restitution to the victims of his crime.
“By fabricating these reports, Gordon has betrayed his position of trust and violated his responsibility to provide information essential to the assessment of water quality for residents of Tennessee and Mississippi,” said the Deputy Attorney General. Todd Kim from the Department of Justice Environment.
and Natural Resources Division. “This lawsuit shows the value of state and federal partnerships in investigating and prosecuting fraud and in complying with the country’s environmental laws for the benefit of public health.”
âThe Clean Water Act ensures that water quality is maintained throughout the United States,â said Acting US Attorney Joseph C. Murphy Jr. for the Western District of Tennessee. âCorrect and accurate test results for discharges into rivers and streams and the honest reporting of these results to regulators are important parts of the regulatory framework for the act. Because honest reporting of this data is so important to the operation of the law, our office will vigorously prosecute those who falsely report test results. “
“The defendant’s job was to help her clients stay in compliance with the Clean Water Act, but instead she chose to tamper with analytical tests required by law for the purposes of financial gain,” the agent said. Special in charge Charles Carfagno of the Environmental Protection Agency – Criminal Investigation Directorate of the Southeast Area of ââthe Division (EPA-CID). “Today’s guilty plea illustrates the consequences of such criminal behavior and that the EPA-CID will continue to vigorously investigate those who choose to violate our environmental laws.”
Gordon has pleaded guilty to knowingly and willfully fabricating and using false writings and documents in a matter within the jurisdiction of the EPA. She is due to be sentenced on March 22, 2022 and faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
The EPA-CID is investigating the case. The MDEQ and the TDEC provided invaluable assistance to federal police officers.
Prosecutor Banumathi Rangarajan of the Department of Justice’s Environmental Crimes Section and U.S. Deputy Attorney Dean DeCandia of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee are continuing the case.