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California Woman Pleads Guilty to Environmental Testing Fraud
Release Date: 12/17/2003
Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 / firstname.lastname@example.org
(12/17/03) Regina Coleman, operator of Diversified Environmental Services Inc., in Los Angeles, Calif., pled guilty on Dec. 8 to three felony counts of mail fraud for distribution of falsified environmental testing reports. From 1998 through 2001, Coleman, who falsely claimed to hold a Ph.D., was paid by clients to sample industrial wastewater from discharge points in sewers, send samples to certified laboratories, and provide the clients with the test results to use in their discharge permit compliance reports. The sampling equipment Coleman used was found to be inoperable, so that no samples were actually sent for analysis. Instead, she generated and mailed false analysis reports to clients, defrauding them out of more than $300,000. Accurate discharge information is necessary for permit compliance because discharging excessive levels of industrial pollutants can damage sewage treatment facilities and prevent the proper treatment of sewage. When sentenced, Coleman faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Area Office of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service and the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.