Business owner sentenced in hazardous waste case

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Moshe Rubashkin of Brooklyn, New York, has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for illegally storing hazardous waste at a textile factory in Allentown.

Moshe Rubashkin plead guilty to the charge last February. His son, Sholom, also of Brooklyn, plead guilty on January 7, 2008, to one count of making a materially false statement to the EPA, and is awaiting sentencing.

The convictions stem from the defendants’ ownership and operation of Montex Textiles, a textile dyeing, bleaching and weaving business formerly located in Allentown, Pennsylvania. When the business ceased operations in 2001, numerous containers of hazardous waste were stored at the site without the necessary environmental permits. After local authorities responded to two fires that occurred at the site, EPA and the city of Allentown initiated a major clean up of the property in October 2005, including disposal of numerous containers of hazardous waste and hazardous substances.

“These defendants demonstrated an utter disregard for the safety of the community surrounding their Allentown business,” said acting United States Attorney Laurie Magid. “It is only proper that they should have to bear the cost of cleaning up the site and serve a term of imprisonment.”

In addition to the prison term, Rubashkin was ordered to jointly pay restitution with his son, Sholom, in the amount of $450,000. Sholom Rubashkin’s sentencing has been continued until December 29, 2008. United States District Court Judge James Knoll Gardner also ordered Moshe Rubashkin to pay a $7,500 fine. This case was investigated by the United States EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and Office of Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Morgan-Kelly and Special Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Lisa.