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FISCAL YEAR: 2010
1. PRINCIPAL DEFENDANT: Christopher Shawn Mills
S.D.  West Virginia  5:09-00215
2. DEFENDANT: Rodney T. Hoffman
S.D.  West Virginia  5:09-00216
Christopher Shawn Mills pleaded guilty and was sentenced on September 22, 2010, in the Southern District of West Virginia to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release, and to pay restitution in the amount of $133,819.12 jointly and severally with related case defendant Rodney T. Hoffman as a special condition of supervision. Mills pleaded guilty June 3, 2010, for his role in illegally storing hazardous waste. Hoffman pleaded guilty in April 2010 for his role in the offense. He was sentenced on August 25, 2010, to 30 months in prison and three year of supervised release in addition to the restitution.

Mills admitted he was involved with chrome plating at Mills Plating shop located on Robert C. Byrd Drive in Beckley, West Virginia from 2004 through 2006. According to court documents, Mills and his business partner, Hoffman, cleaned out plating tanks and stored the waste material on site without a permit. Both men admitted they were aware the waste material was hazardous when storing it in open containers and vats at the Robert C. Byrd Drive location from October 2006 to February 2007, when it was discovered by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Subsequently, the U.S. Environmental Protection agency conducted a cleanup of the site.

Evidence presented at sentencing revealed that Hoffman was previously convicted for violating the Clean Water Act. Hoffman pleaded guilty in 1999 in that previous case, admitting to dumping rinse water with heavy metals into a drain leading to the municipal wastewater treatment system in Mabscott, West Virginia.



September 23, 2009
The defendants were charged in an Information with two counts of violating RCRA{42 U.S.C. 6928(d)(2)(A) - knowingly violates}.

They pled guilty to the charges.

CITATION: 42 U.S.C. 6928(d)(2)(A)
June 3, 2010
Mills pled guilty for his role in illegally storing hazardous waste.


Southern District of West Virginia
IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2010

FORMER BECKLEY BUSINESS OWNER PLEADS GUILTY TO ENVIRONMENTAL VIOLATION

Admits to Storing Hazardous Waste in Open Containers

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Beckley, West Virginia man pleaded guilty today for his role in illegally storing hazardous waste. Christopher Shawn Mills, 36, admitted he was involved with chrome plating at Mills Plating shop located on Robert C. Byrd Drive in Beckley from 2004 through 2006. According to court documents, Mills and his business partner, Rodney T. Hoffman, 43, also of Beckley, cleaned out plating tanks and stored the waste material on site without a permit. Both men admitted they were aware the waste material was hazardous when storing it in open containers and vats at the Robert C. Byrd Drive location from October 2006 to February 2007, when it was discovered by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Subsequently, the U.S. Environmental Protection agency conducted a cleanup of the site. Mills faces up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine per day of violation when he is sentenced on September 22, 2010. Hoffman previously pleaded guilty in April 2010 for his role in the offense. He is scheduled to be sentenced on August 18, 2010.

“Hazardous wastes must be properly stored to ensure that the public and the environment are protected,” said David M. Dillon, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division Regional Office. United States Attorney R. Booth Goodwin II stated, “We will prosecute those who break the law by taking short cuts which endanger our environment and our community.”

The investigation was conducted by EPA, with assistance from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. The prosecutions are being handled by Special Assistant United States Attorney Perry McDaniel and Assistant United States Attorney Erik S. Goes. United States District Judge Irene C. Berger is presiding over the proceedings.

August 25, 2010
Hoffman was sentenced to 30 months incarceration and 36 months probation.


Southern District of West Virginia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2010

BECKLEY MAN SENTENCED FOR ILLEGALLY STORING HAZARDOUS WASTE

BECKLEY, W.Va. – Rodney T. Hoffman, 43, of Beckley, West Virginia, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Irene C. Berger to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $133,819.12 in restitution to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for storing hazardous waste without a permit.

Hoffman pleaded guilty in April 2010, admitting to his involvement with chrome plating at Mills Plating shop on Robert C. Byrd Drive in Beckley from 2004 through 2006. Hoffman admitted he cleaned out plating tanks and stored the waste materials, including sulfuric acid and chromic acid, on site without a permit. Hoffman further admitted he knew the waste was hazardous. The hazardous waste, stored in open containers and vats at the Robert C. Byrd Drive location, were abandoned at the shop on Robert C. Byrd Drive when the plating operation was moved to Harper Road in Beckley. According to court documents, the waste materials were illegally stored from October of 2006 until February of 2007, when it was discovered by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Subsequently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency expended over $133,000 conducting a cleanup of the site.

“Those who choose to jeopardize the health and safety of citizens by illegally storing or disposing of hazardous waste will be held accountable,” stated United States Attorney Booth Goodwin. “People are endangered, our environment suffers, and tax dollars are exhausted when those dealing with hazardous waste decide to cut corners. We will use every available tool to bring such violators to justice.”

“Illegally stored hazardous waste presents a danger to public health and a threat to the environment,” said David M. Dillon, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Criminal Enforcement in the Philadelphia Region. “EPA will investigate those who refuse to follow the rules and will work tirelessly to see that they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Evidence presented at sentencing revealed that Hoffman was previously convicted for violating the Clean Water Act. Hoffman pleaded guilty in 1999, admitting to dumping rinse water with heavy metals into a drain leading to the municipal wastewater treatment system in Mabscott, West Virginia.

The investigation was conducted by EPA, with assistance from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. Special Assistant United States Attorney Perry McDaniel handled the prosecution.

September 22, 2010
Mills was sentenced to 18 months incarceration, 36 months probation and was ordered to pay $133,819 in restitution to the U.S. EPA for associated clean-up costs.

Hoffman filed a Notice of Appeal. Subject appeal has been dismissed.

STATUTE:
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

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