Issuing False Certifications Leads to Guilty Plea
Charles Warren Joseph of Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty on Sept. 2, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland to conspiracy to defraud the United States. Joseph admitted to participating in a scheme that resulted in approximately 100 false chloroflurocarbon (CFC) technician certificates being issued between June 1994 and November 1995. The certificates are required by federal law to ensure that individuals working on refrigeration equipment properly handle ozone-depleting refrigerants. Joseph, an employee of Refrigerant Certification Services of Houston, aided co-conspirator Herman Brodzenski of Canton, Ohio, by concealing the fact that Brodzenski had issued the counterfeit certificates. The release of CFCs damages the earth's ozone layer, which protects people from ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer and cataracts. When sentenced, Joseph could receive a maximum of up to five years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division.
Brodzenski pleaded guilty on June 19, for making false statements and conspiracy to falsify 100 CFC technician certificates between June 1994 and November 1995. Brodzenski, an exam proctor, admitted to issuing certificates to individuals who had not taken required certification exams. Brodzenski could receive up to 10 years in prison and/or fines of up to $500,000.