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Florida Man Sentenced for Illegal Filling of Florida Bay

Release Date: 01/19/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Stacie Findon 202-564-7338 /

(01/19/05) Jeffrey Balch of Marathon, Fla., was sentenced on Jan. 11 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami for illegally depositing fill material in Florida Bay. The defendant will spend five months in prison followed by five months of home confinement. In addition, he was ordered to pay a $15,000 criminal fine and pay $66,122 to the Florida Keys Restoration Fund. He must also remove the illegally placed fill. Balch owned bayfront property in Marathon. He allowed Felix Equities, a contractor for the Little Venice Sewerage Project to dump excavated fill on his property. Balch then used heavy equipment to place the fill into the waters of Florida Bay. Illegally filling waters can damage fish and other aquatic organisms and affect the health of shoreline ecosystems. The case was investigated by the Miami Office of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division. It was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami.