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Pennsylvania Company and Its President Charged in Clean Water Act Case

Release Date: 10/07/2004
Contact Information:

Contact: John Millett 202-564-7842 /

(10/07/04) BEF Corp. of Allentown, Pa., and Elward Brewer of Englewood, Fla., BEF's founder and president, were each charged on Sept. 22, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia with allegedly violating the Clean Water Act by discharging silver-laden and acidic waste water into sewers operated by the City of Bethlehem, Pa., and the City of Allentown, Pa. BEF buys used one-hour photo-processing machines, refurbishes them and then resells them throughout the world. During the refurbishment process, BEF generates silver-laden and acidic wastewater. In addition BEF was also charged with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and with 12 counts of making false statements to the government. These charges stem from BEF's exportation of goods to Iran, and from BEF's alleged practice of discounting the fair market value of its photo labs on Shippers' Export Declarations to help its international customers avoid paying import duties. Unlawfully disposing of metal laden and acidic waste water into sewers can damage sewage treatment equipment and can interfere with the proper treatment of sewage by sewage treatment facilities. The case was investigated by the Philadelphia office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Commerce Department's Office of Export Enforcement and the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Investigative assistance was provided by the waste water treatment departments of the Borough of Catasauqua, the City of Bethelem, South Whitehall Township and the City of Allentown. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia.