Underground storage tank testing firm sentenced to pay $2.29 million
Jan 1, 2003 12:00 PM
Tanknology-NDE International Inc was sentenced in federal district court in Austin TX to pay a $1 million criminal fine and restitution of $1.29 million to the United States for false underground storage tank (UST) testing services performed by its employees, according to the Justice Department and the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Reportedly the largest UST testing company in the nation, Tanknology pleaded guilty Aug 29, 2002, to 10 felony counts of presenting false claims and making false statements to federal agencies. Tanknology, headquartered in Austin, admitted in its plea and at sentencing that from January 1997 until December 1999, company employees had performed false tests at federal installations across the country, including US postal facilities, military bases, and a NASA facility.
The pleas and sentence arose from an investigation carried out by several federal criminal investigative agencies in which agents observed Tanknology testers at government facilities nationwide. False tests ranged from failing to follow required test protocols to “drive-by” tests, where a Tanknology tester was videotaped driving up to a federal facility, driving away after a few minutes, and then submitting false data.
Besides paying the criminal fine and restitution, Tanknology will serve a term of probation for five years. Under the plea agreement, Tanknology also will implement a quality management system to ensure that false and improper testing practices do not occur again.
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