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Illinois Man Pleads Guilty to Falsifying Refrigerant Certification Test Results

Release Date: 05/09/2003
Contact Information:

John Millett 202-564-7842/

(05/09/03) On April 23 in U.S. District Court in Chicago, Louis Molenda of McHenry, Ill., pled guilty to falsifying test results for workers applying to be certified to work in the refrigeration industry. Molenda worked as a free-lance proctor who administered certification tests for Nugent Associates, a New York firm that has an EPA-approved certification program. Workers who install or repair refrigeration equipment that contains chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerant gasses are required to be certified under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act. For a fee of $105, Molenda would fill in the correct answers on a student’s test and then submit the falsified test results so students could obtain their certificates. Certification helps ensure that CFC and HCFC gases are not released to the atmosphere when refrigeration equipment is worked on. Both of these gases deplete the earth’s ozone layer which protects people, plants and animals from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. When sentenced, Molenda faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago.