Dec 28, 2000

Racketeering Charges Brought in Michigan Environmental Case

A U.S. District Court in Detroit has charged the owner and manager of a Michigan environmental consulting and cleanup firm for violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) by repeatedly polluting soils and waters so that the firm would be hired to clean up the contamination.

Former owner and president of Hi-Po Inc., Aaron Smith, and former operations manager Stephen Carbeck allegedly operated Hi-Po as an organized crime enterprise, overstated the among of contamination, charged customers for services that were not performed and bribed employees between June 1996 and October 1998.

Smith, Carbeck and Hi-Po also were charged with conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act, violating the Clean Water Act and mail fraud. Smith was charged with money laundering. Three other men faced charges of bribery.

The case was investigated by the Criminal Investigation Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the FBI with the assistance of the University of Michigan's Department of Public Safety.

(Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)