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California Woman Sentenced for Environmental Testing Fraud

Release Date: 06/26/2004
Contact Information:

Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 /

(06/26/04) Regina Coleman of Inglewood, Calif., operator of a business known as Diversified Environmental Services Inc., in Los Angeles, was sentenced on Feb. 23 to 15 months imprisonment and ordered to pay $303,930 in restitution for her conviction on three felony counts of mail fraud. From 1998 through 2001, Coleman, who falsely claimed to hold a Ph.D., was paid by her clients to obtain samples of industrial wastewater from discharge points in sewers and send them to certified laboratories for analysis. Coleman then provided reports of analyses which the clients used in their discharge permit compliance reports to sanitation districts. Surveillance operations indicated that Coleman used inoperable sampling equipment and therefore did not collect samples for analysis. Instead, she generated false analysis reports and mailed them to her clients, defrauding her clients out of more than $300,000. Accurate discharge information is necessary for permit compliance because discharging excessive levels of industrial pollutants can damage sewage treatment facilities, prevent the proper treatment of sewage and create a threat to surface waters and aquatic life downstream of sewage treatment plant outflows. The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Area Office of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service and the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.