Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations
September 10, 2012: Environmental Testing Lab Company and Owner Sentenced for Falsifying Test Results
PHILADELPHIA - Blue Marsh Laboratories, Inc., located in Douglassville, PA, and its president, laboratory director, and owner Michael J. McKenna, 54, of Kutztown, PA, were sentenced today for a conspiracy that resulted in the false reporting of pollution test results and reporting a fake result in testing imported fruit for potential contamination. McKenna was sentenced to nine months in prison; Blue Marsh Labs was sentenced to five years probation; both defendants were ordered to share the cost of restitution in the amount of $14,114.50.
The defendants pleaded guilty to devising a scheme to defraud customers and to obtain money and property from customers by means of false and fraudulent representations regarding test results. They also admitted to violating the Clean Water Act, and submitting a false test report to the Food and Drug Administration.
Blue Marsh and McKenna, primarily in the business of analytical testing of environmental samples of water and wastewater, caused environmental test reports to be prepared and mailed to customers which falsely stated that proper EPA methods were followed when they weren't. The test results then were false, inaccurate and unreliable. For example, from September 2005 through October 2005, the defendants prepared and mailed false and fraudulent test results for Hurricane Katrina flood water samples which were required by EPA to be tested for contamination by various pollutants, including, among others, cyanide, and herbicides MCPA and MCPP.
In addition, from approximately July 2007 through September 2007, the defendants prepared and sent false and fraudulent test results required by the United States Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") for the testing of certain fruit which had been imported from South America and which were required to be tested for pesticide contamination.
"Americans expect their public water supply to be clean and safe to drink and the fruit they buy safe to eat," said Special Agent-in-Charge David G. McLeod, Jr., of EPA's criminal enforcement program in Pennsylvania. "Violators who submit false reports or incorrect data undermine our efforts to protect the public and the environment. Today's sentencing is a clear and tangible example of how we hold companies and their senior executives accountable when they deliberately place the public at risk."
"American consumers must have confidence that the food imported from outside our borders is safe, fit for human consumption, and free from cancer-causing pesticides," said Special Agent-in-Charge Antoinette V. Henry, of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations, Metro Washington Field Office. "We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to prosecute individuals, like the defendants, who blatantly disregard and circumvent laws designed to protect the public health and allow these products to proceed to America's supermarkets."
The case was investigated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, the United States Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. It was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Moshang, III and Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth Abrams.