The laboratory director of a Douglassville-based company has been sentenced to nine months in prison stemming from an 84-count indictment, which includes 30 Clean Water Act violations and furnished to the Upper Moreland-Hatboro Joint Sewer Authority.
Michael J. McKenna, 54, of Kutztown, formerly the laboratory director, president and owner of Blue Marsh Laboratories, Inc. in Douglassville, was said to have falsified environmental testing reports for several public authorities in southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including the Upper Moreland-Hatboro Joint Sewer Authority.
According to the 34-page indictment filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, from September 2005 until about June 2006, McKenna, realizing that he did not have the necessary materials, or required equipment in proper working order, prepared and sent test reports to the Upper Moreland-Hatboro Joint Sewer Authority for ammonia, TSS, cyanide and dioxin environmental testing and analyses.
The authority paid McKenna's company $6,504.10 in a May 24, 2006 check, according to the indictment and on June 7, 2006 was issued a certificate of analyses on June 7, June 22, June 26, June 30, July 18, July 19 and August 8 of that year. The authority paid Blue Marsh $931.40 on Sept. 7, 2006, $92.50 on Sept. 20, $132 on Oct. 4 and $2,989.70 on Oct. 18.
According to its Web site, the Upper Moreland/Hatboro Joint Sewer Authority services more than 10,000 customers in its coverage area of Hatboro and Upper Moreland, as well as residents in the eastern tip of Horsham, the northern portion of Upper Dublin, the southern section of Warminster, and Masons Mill Business Park in Bryn Athyn.
In addition to serving jail time, McKenna's company, Blue Marsh Laboratories, Inc., was sentenced to five years probation. McKenna and the company was ordered to share the restitution cost of $14,114.50.
McKenna on Monday pleaded guilty to the conspiracy which resulted in the false reporting of pollution test results, as well as reporting a fake result in testing imported fruit for potential contamination.
According to authorities, he admitted to devising a scheme to defraud customers and to obtain money and property from customers by means of false and fraudulent representations regarding test results. He also admitted to violating the Clean Water Act, and submitting a false test report to the Food and Drug Administration.
Blue Marsh and McKenna, primarily in the business of analytical testing of environmental samples of water and wastewater, caused environmental test reports to be prepared and mailed to customers which falsely stated that proper EPA methods were followed when they weren't, according to authorities.
The test results then were false, inaccurate and unreliable, federal authorities said.
Besides reports falsified for the Upper Moreland-Hatboro Joint Sewer Authority, authorities said McKenna prepared and mailed false and fraudulent test results for Hurricane Katrina flood water samples which were required by EPA to be tested for contamination by various pollutants, including, among others, cyanide, and herbicides MCPA and MCPP.
From approximately July 2007 through September 2007, McKenna, through his company is said to have prepared and sent false and fraudulent test results required by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the testing of certain fruit which had been imported from South America and which were required to be tested for pesticide contamination.
"Americans expect their public water supply to be clean and safe to drink and the fruit they buy safe to eat," Special Agent-in-Charge David G. McLeod, Jr., of EPA's criminal enforcement program in Pennsylvania said in a press release. "Violators who submit false reports or incorrect data undermine our efforts to protect the public and the environment."
The case was investigated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, the United States Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. It was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Moshang, III and Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth Abrams.