A lab owner hired to ensure water quality for dozens of Mississippi towns has been sentenced to 18 months for faking test results.
John H. Couey, 44, of Greenville falsified more than 1,000 lab reports sent to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, according to the Clarion Ledger.
“The defendant in this case is alleged to have falsified thousands of water test results, including results used to confirm the safety of drinking water,” said Charles Carfagno, acting Special Agent in charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Mississippi. “This case demonstrates that EPA will hold accountable those who violate laws designed to protect the health and safety of our communities.”
Couey waived indictment and pleaded guilty Apr. 18 to five felony counts of falsifying documents required under the Clean Water Act (CWA). He is the owner and lab director of Davis Research Inc. in Avon, Mississippi, which tests water for more than 100 cities, towns, state and federal agencies, and businesses in the Mississippi Delta, according to WATN.
Senior U.S. District Judge Glen Davidson sentenced Couey to 18 months on each count, but set them to run simultaneously, reported to the Clarion Ledger. The maximum penalty for each count is 2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“One of our top priorities is to protect the environment from those who would disregard our environmental regulations and laws, placing in jeopardy the well-being of our citizens,” said William C. Lamar, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi.