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Mark Henry sentenced to 37 months on environmental crime conviction

Release Date: 06/26/1996
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office; (617) 918-1064 and Paul H. Gagnon, US Attorney, (603) 225-1552

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE--United States Attorney Paul M. Gagnon and Assistant Attorney General Lois J. Schiffer announced today that Mark O. Henry of North Andover, Massachusetts was sentenced by federal district court Judge Paul Barbadoro in Concord to serve 37 months in federal prison for crimes arising from his operation of the Beede Waste Oil Company in Plaistow. On February 22, 1996, following an eight day trial, Mr. Henry was convicted on three counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, and one count of having conspired to transport hazardous waste to an unpermitted facility. He was acquitted on five mail fraud counts.

The charges arose out of Mr. Henry's operation of the Beede Waste Oil Co., a company that claimed to recycle petroleum contaminated soil into cold mix asphalt. The indictment charged that Mr. Henry had committed mail and wire fraud by falsely representing to Beede Waste Oil customers that contaminated soil that they were required by law to remove from their sites would be or had been legally recycled into asphalt when, in fact, Beede was not processing soil, was in violation of its New Hampshire Environmental Services permit, and had been shut down by the state. Evidence was presented that during 1990 and 1991 Beede processed only a small fraction of the more than 25,000 tons of petroleum-contaminated soil that its customers paid Beede nearly $2 million to recycle. Government witnesses testified that Beede dumped at its 50 acre Plaistow facility petroleum contaminated soil from industrial and commercial sites in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Jersey. Petroleum contaminated soil poses a threat to groundwater and emits air pollutants that are regulated by the state Air Resources Division. Evidence was also presented supporting the conspiracy charge that Mr. Henry arranged with others to ship lead and cadmium contaminated hazardous wastes to Beede from three out-of-state sites.

The case was investigated by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Environmental Protection Agency in Boston. It was tried by attorneys Stephen R. Herm and Jeremy F. Korzenik of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice with the assistance of the United States Attorney's Office in Concord.

United States Attorney Gagnon stated, "What made the defendant's fraud particularly pernicious was that he took advantage of his victims' efforts to do what was required under the law. Mr. Henry deceived businesses that attempted to clean up contaminated sites, that tried to dispose of their waste legally and responsibly. Through his fraud, he created in New Hampshire precisely the environmental hazards that his customers paid him to prevent elsewhere."

EPA's New England Regional Administrator John P. DeVillars stated, "This sentence closes the final chapter in the long history of Mark Henry's empty promises, lies, and contempt of public health and environmental laws. Flagrant environmental violations of this magnitude should be severely punished as they have been here."

Robert D. LaFlamme of Lawrence, Massachusetts, MR. Henry's co-defendant and former Beede Waste Oil manager, who pled guilty to mail fraud and conspiracy charges relating to the same set of facts involved in the case against Mr. Henry, is scheduled to be sentence on Monday, July 15, 1996.

The State of New Hampshire has filed a civil law suit against Mr. Henry and related companies seeking orders requiring him to clean up the contaminated soil and hazardous waste that were placed on the Beede site. A recently completed site investigation found significant petroleum contamination of groundwater at Beede. The contaminants include petroleum hydrocarbons, metals, and volatile organic compounds. To date the state of New Hampshire has spent nearly $1.2 million for its efforts at enforcement and cleanup at the Beede site. The Environmental Protection Agency has spent over $100,000 in a preliminary study. Based upon that study, the EPA is considering placing the Beede property in Plaistow on the National Priority List of Superfund Sites, which would make it eligible to receive federal cleanup funds.