Friday, February 24

DOJ: Company to Pay $9.5 Million for False Reporting of Safety Inspections and Clean Water Act Violations That Led to Explosion in Gulf of Mexico

Department of Justice - Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Thursday, February 23, 2017

Wood Group PSN Inc., a Nevada corporation headquartered in Houston, Texas, was ordered to pay $9.5 million today in two separate cases involving their conduct in the Gulf of Mexico. Specifically, Wood Group PSN was ordered to pay $7 million for falsely reporting over several years that personnel had performed safety inspections on offshore facilities in the Gulf of Mexico in the Western District of Louisiana, and $1.8 million for negligently discharging oil into the Gulf of Mexico in violation of the Clean Water Act after an explosion on an offshore facility in the Eastern District of Louisiana, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeff Wood of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana Stephanie A. Finley, and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana Kenneth A. Polite. Wood Group PSN was also ordered to pay $700,000 in community service to projects in the areas where the criminal conduct took place.

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“The events of November 2012 at West Delta 32 were tragic, and since then federal prosecutors have worked diligently to investigate and understand the full scope of criminal conduct,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Wood. “Today’s plea agreement demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to the integrity of federal safety programs and accountability for those who falsify

North Carolina Man Sentenced to Prison For Failing to Pay Employment Taxes

Department of Justice - Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Thursday, February 23, 2017

A North Carolina businessman was sentenced today to 15 months in prison for failing to pay over employment taxes, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra Hairston for the Middle District of North Carolina.

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According to court documents, Paul Harvey Boone, 54, of Hillsborough, North Carolina, owned and operated Boone Audio Inc. in Burlington, North Carolina.  For most of 2008 through 2011, Boone used company funds for personal expenses while failing to pay over the employment taxes withheld from his employees’ wages.  Boone also failed to file his individual income tax returns and pay personal income taxes for tax years 2008 through 2011.

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“Paul Boone’s prison sentence serves as a reminder to employers that willfully failing to comply with employment tax obligations is a crime,” said Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg.

DOJ: Florida Man Sentenced for Sex Trafficking and Interstate Prostitution

Department of Justice - Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Thursday, February 23, 2017

U.S. District Judge Carlos E. Mendoza of the Middle District of Florida sentenced Abdhullah Hamidullah, 43, to serve 482 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release, the Justice Department announced today.  Hamidullah pleaded guilty on June 17, 2016, to sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591, and to enticing individuals to travel in interstate commerce for prostitution and transporting individuals in interstate commerce for prostitution in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2421 and 2422.

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According to admissions in connection with his guilty plea, Hamidullah lured a young woman identified as A.W. to travel to Florida on false pretenses, then forced her to engage in commercial sex acts with multiple customers a day, for several months, and provide him the proceeds.  Hamidullah isolated her in his apartment, took away her money and phone, and installed an alarm without providing her the code.  He also assaulted her, showed her his handgun, and branded her with a tattoo

DOJ: Two Vessel Engineers Convicted of Environmental and Obstruction Crimes After Trial. Vessel Manager Pleads Guilty to Environmental Crimes and Obstruction of Justice

Department of Justice - Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Thursday, February 23, 2017

A federal jury in Charleston, South Carolina, late yesterday convicted two chief engineers of the vessel, T/V Green Sky, of falsifying documents in order to conceal illegal discharges of oily bilge waste and obstruction charges, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeff Wood of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and U.S. Attorney Beth Drake of the District of South Carolina. Herbert Julian, who served as chief engineer of the vessel from Aug. 3 to Sept. 4, 2015, was convicted of two felony counts under the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and for obstruction of justice. Panagiotis Koutoukakis, chief engineer from Feb. 1 to Aug. 3, 2015, was convicted of two felony counts, one for APPS and another for falsifying records.

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In addition, it was revealed in court documents, which were unsealed after the verdicts were rendered, that Aegean Shipping Management, S.A., a foreign company with operations in Greece that acted as the Green Sky’s operator, previously pleaded guilty to a violation of the APPS and obstruction of justice.

“This case involved egregious violations of U.S. and international laws that are key to protecting the oceans from pollution, and deliberate efforts to mislead Coast Guard officials about these criminal acts,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Wood. “Now these defendants have been held accountable under the law by a jury of their peers. The Department of Justice will continue to aggressively prosecute criminal acts that pollute the oceans.”

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“With Charleston serving as one of the largest ports on the Eastern seaboard, working vessel pollution cases with the Environmental Crimes Section is an important focus for our office,” said U.S. Attorney Beth Drake, District of South Carolina. “Through criminal charges, we can deter those