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California Company Executive Sentenced to 37 Months for Hazardous Waste Offenses

Release Date: 12/11/2003
Contact Information:

Luke C. Hester 202-564-7818 /
Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 /

(12/11/03) Hormoz Pourat, vice president of AAD Distribution and Dry Cleaning Services Inc. (AAD) and also the manager of Right Choice Inc., was sentenced on Dec. 3 to 37 months imprisonment and $1.29 million in restitution. Pourat was also sentenced to three years probation, during which he is prohibited from engaging in the hazardous waste business. The defendant was convicted of conspiring to violate hazardous waste laws, including the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. AAD, which was one of California’s largest handlers of cleaning waste until closing in January 2001, charged cleaning establishments to pick up and properly dispose of drums of a used cleaning compound called perchlorocthylene or “PERC.” The drums of PERC, a cancer causing hazardous waste, were collected and stored at the AAD facility even after the number of drums far exceeded the storage limit in AAD’s state permit. To conceal this situation from state inspectors, Pourat moved and stored the drums off-site and, in doing so, falsified required hazardous waste shipment manifests. Pourat also pleaded guilty to a committing a similar scheme at Right Choice where he stored hazardous wastes without a permit and transported the wastes off-site to avoid detection. However, the hazardous wastes involved at Right Choice were flammable solvents from automotive repair shops. Cleaning-up the AAD site and other facilities where PERC was illegally stored cost approximately $1 million. In a companion hazardous waste case in Colorado, Pourat was sentenced on July 3 to 17 years in prison and a $100,000 fine by the Jefferson County District Court. The California case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division (Los Angeles), the Colorado State Attorney Generals’ Office, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the California Environmental Protection Agency with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.