Environmental Protection

Allentown Business Owner Sentenced to Prison

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Nov. 12 announced that Moshe Rubashkin, 50, of Brooklyn, N.Y., has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for illegally storing hazardous waste at a textile factory in Allentown.

Moshe Rubashkin pleaded guilty to the charge last February. His son, Sholom, 29, also of Brooklyn, pleaded guilty on Jan. 7 to one count of making a materially false statement to 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, Pa. 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 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 U.S. 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. The sentence handed down by Judge Gardener should serve as a wake-up call to all business owners that, in the long run, a cavalier attitude about the hazardous materials you are using or waste you are generating will cost you dearly."

"Hazardous wastes must be stored and managed properly to ensure the safety of the community and the environment," said David Dillon, special agent in charge for EPA's Criminal Investigation Division in Philadelphia." Today’s sentence shows that individuals who fail to dispose of wastes safely and legally will be prosecuted."

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 Dec. 29. U.S. District Court Judge James Knoll Gardner also ordered Moshe Rubashkin to pay a $7,500 fine.

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