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10 People Indicted in Alleged Conspiracy Involving Tests on Underground Ground Storage Tanks

Release Date: 4/28/2000
Contact Information: Donna Heron ( 215-815-5113)

Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

PITTSBURGH - The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Pennsylvania at Pittsburgh announced today that on April 12, 2000 10 individuals were indicted on charges that they committed fraud in connection with environmental testing of underground storage tanks. These individuals were the operators and/or employees of AUST. of Austin, TX; and ASTI and AST. of Little Rock, AR

"Drive-by" tests also allegedly were conducted and data falsified, with results mailed or faxed to their customers, who needed accurate data to comply with the law.

This case is part of a national initiative focusing on criminal activities related to the federal underground storage tank (UST) program administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This action represents the largest group of individuals ever indicted for criminal violations related to this program.

The greatest potential hazard from leaking underground storage tanks is that the petroleum or hazardous substances can contaminate groundwater, the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans. States have reported that underground tanks are the most common source of groundwater contamination and that petroleum is the most common contaminant. Leaking underground tanks present other health and environmental risks, including the potential for fire and explosion.

The 10 people indicted April 12 - nine men and one woman - face a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both.

See the attached press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office for additional details.

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