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California Man Pleads Guilty to Mishandling of Dry Cleaning Wastes

Release Date: 03/10/2004
Contact Information:

Suzanne Ackerman, 202-564-7819 /

(03/10/04) Behzad Kahoolyzadeh of West Los Angeles, Calif., manager of AAD Distribution and Dry Cleaning Services in Vernon, Calif., pled guilty on March 4 to conspiracy, two counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by illegally transporting hazardous waste, and two counts of violating RCRA by illegally storing hazardous waste. According to his plea, in Jan. 2000, Kahoolyzadeh negotiated the purchase of AAD, a company with a long history of hazardous waste violations, with two co-defendants, ADD’s President and Vice-President, Homayoun Pourat and Hormoz Pourat. Kahoolyzadeh conspired with the Pourats to hide additional permit violations from inspectors and ordered AAD employees to load trucks with drums filled with dry cleaning wastes that contained perchloroethylene (PERC). The wastes were then unlawfully transported and stored at facilities not permitted for hazardous waste storage. Long-term exposure to PERC can result in neurological problems, liver or kidney damage. Animal studies have also shown PERC to be carcinogenic. Cleanup of the improperly stored wastes cost over $1 million. Kahoolyzadeh faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. Hormoz Pourat previously pled guilty and was sentenced to prison. The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Area Office of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Department of Toxic Substances Control, the City of Vernon, Calif., with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center. Portions of the case took place in Colorado, and the Colorado State Attorney General’s Office provided assistance. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.