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St. Louis Man Sentenced for Environmental, Fraud Violations

Release Date: 05/25/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Stacie Keller, 202-564-4355 /

(05/25/05) Phillip H. Cohn, of St. Louis, Mo., was sentenced on May 20, 2005 before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, East St. Louis, Ill., to 60 months imprisonment and five years supervised release. The court also ordered Cohn to pay $347,200 restitution to East St. Louis, Illinois School District 189. Cohn had previously pleaded guilty to submitting false invoices to School District 189 purportedly for environmental cleanup work at the Clark Middle School site. He then caused the endorsements of environmental companies to be forged on checks issued from the escrow account and used the money for personal expenses. Cohn obtained approximately $350,000 from the escrow account through his criminal conduct. As part of his plea agreement, Cohn agreed to make full restitution to School District 189. On the environmental Clean Air Act charge, Cohn failed to remove substantial quantities of known asbestos containing materials from the historic Spivey Building, the tallest building in East St. Louis, before sending work crews into the Spivey Building to conduct demolition and renovation work. The prosecution was the result of an investigation conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division; United States Postal Inspection Service; Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; United States Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Illinois Environmental Protection Agency; Illinois Attorney General's Office; and the Illinois State Police. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Hal Goldsmith.