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EPA National News: PA CALIFORNIA COMPANY OWNER SENTENCED IN CLEAN WATER ACT CASE
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PA CALIFORNIA COMPANY OWNER SENTENCED IN CLEAN WATER ACT CASE

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, MAY 30, 1997

CALIFORNIA COMPANY OWNER SENTENCED IN CLEAN WATER ACT CASE

On May 23, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District in San Diego, Calif., Gordon Cooper was sentenced to serve 51 months in prison followed by three years supervised probation for conspiracy, Clean Water Act (CWA) violations and wire fraud. On Feb. 28, Cooper, and his company, Chino Corona Farms Inc., were found guilty on all charges by a jury for falsely billing the city of San Diego for services and for dumping sludge at an unapproved location. Co-owner of the company, Robert Vaughn, who pleaded guilty to one CWA count, was previously sentenced to six months confinement, five years probation and a $50,000 fine. Cooper and Vaughn had contracted with the city to take its waste sludge from the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant and to properly dispose of it. They obtained approval to compost it on the Torrez-Martinez Indian Reservation in Riverside County, Calif., for the purpose of improving the soil. Cooper and Vaughn instead stockpiled the material on tribal land. Sludge was also shipped to Mexico for disposal and to a farm in Imperial County, Calif., for land application without the approval of the appropriate state authorities. In addition, they falsified billing information and over-charged the city by approximately $2 million. This case was investigated jointly by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

R-86 # # #

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Last Revised: 06/02/1997 07:45:45 AM