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PA COMPANY AND EMPLOYEES PLEAD IN LARGEST CFC CASE
Release Date: 06/06/97
FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, JUNE 6, 1997
COMPANY AND EMPLOYEES PLEAD IN LARGEST CFC CASE
In the largest recovery ever in a criminal case for smuggling chloroflurocarbon (CFC) refrigerants prosecuted under the Clean Air Act, Refrigeration USA of Miami and Hallandale, Fla.; Roland Wood of North Miami, the company’s president; Diane McNally of Miami, Refrigeration’s bookkeeper, and Lisa Salazar of Pembroke Pines, an import-export clerk at Refrigeration USA; all pleaded guilty on May 28, in U.S. Court for the Southern District of Florida to various federal violations. Their crimes arose from smuggling over 4,000 tons of the ozone-depleting refrigerant gas CFC-12 which depletes the earth’s ozone layer and can cause skin cancer and cataracts in people. The three individuals each pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to import CFC-12 without consumption allowances required by the Clean Air Act. The scheme involved filing false documents with the Customs Service, EPA and the IRS. The corporation pleaded to 129 felony counts. The plea agreement requires the immediate surrender of over $4,470,000 in cash being held in offshore accounts, the forfeiture of real estate in Miami and London, England valued at over $3,400,000, forfeiture of stock in a domestic bank, and surrender to the government of 11,200 thirty-pound cylinders of CFC-12 which have a current market value of $6,720,000. Each of the three defendants face maximum sentences of up to five years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000 or twice the gain or loss caused by their criminal conduct. The company faces possible fines of up to $500,000 on each felony count, as well as restitution. In addition, all defendants can still be held liable for the unpaid excise taxes on the smuggled CFC-12 which are due to the Internal Revenue Service. This tax liability could be as high as $30 million. The case was investigated by agents from EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Customs Service and the Internal Revenue Service.
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