Waste Haulers Plead Guilty, Sentenced on Solid Waste and False Claims Charges
"Companies that get the privilege of doing business with the Commonwealth should not violate our environmental laws, and we are pleased the courts agree that these types of actions should be taken seriously and punished accordingly." "Our office will hold accountable those who violate the public's trust, while taking taxpayer dollars," AG Coakley said.
"This enterprise fraudulently posed as a reputable business that was engaged in the safe disposal of street sweepings when, in fact, they were cheating their customers and profiting from the illegal co-mingling of this material, in a way that put the public and the environment at risk," said MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt.
Jayco Landscaping Supply Co., (Jayco) of Waltham, and its principals, John Toyias, 45, of Newton, and Charles Garabedian, 62, of Newton, all pled guilty in Middlesex Superior Court to the charges of violating the Solid Waste Act, Jayco (10 counts), Toyias (1 count), and Garabedian (1 count). Jayco also pled guilty to the charge of Presentment of False Claims for the Cities of Cambridge (6 counts), Chelsea (2 counts) and Lawrence (2 counts). Garabedian pled guilty to an additional charge of Presentment of False Claims, and Toyias pled guilty to an additional charge of Conspiracy to Present False Claims.
After the pleas were entered, Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup sentenced Toyias to serve 6 months in the House of Correction, upon the completion of a federal prison sentence on an unrelated matter. Toyias was also ordered to serve three years of supervised probation. Judge Rup ordered that Jayco pay $100,000 in fines to Commonwealth and ordered that the company be placed on probation for three years. For the first year of probation, Jayco is prohibited from bidding on public contracts. Garabedian was sentenced to serve 18 months of probation, and must also perform 100 hours of community service. Judge Rup also ordered that Garabedian work no more than 11 hours per week for the company.
In 2007, Jayco was hired by the city of Cambridge to haul miscellaneous municipal waste generated by the Cambridge Department of Public Works. The contract between the city of Cambridge and Jayco required that Jayco provide weight slips for the waste they hauled, and disposal slips for payment to the city. The contract also mandated that Jayco take street sweepings to a landfill permitted to accept such waste.
An investigation by authorities determined that Jayco was not dumping the street sweepings at an authorized landfill, as it had contracted to do, but rather was bringing the sweepings to its own facility in Waltham and also commingling it with other waste. The defendants also fabricated documentation and then submitted it to the City of Cambridge along with invoices, four of which were for loads of waste that Jayco never hauled. According to authorities, those documents purported to be invoices from a permitted landfill that, in fact, never received the waste or issued any invoices; these invoices falsely represented a weight for material that was never weighed. Similarly, documents submitted to the Cities of Chelsea and Lawrence showed that their waste was being weighed, when it was not.
The indictments stem from an investigation by the Cambridge Police Department and the Massachusetts Environmental Crimes Strike Force (ECSF), an interagency unit that includes prosecutors from the Attorney General's Office, Environmental Police Officers assigned to the Attorney General's Office, and investigators and engineers from the MassDEP. The Massachusetts Environmental Crimes Strike Force (ECSF) is overseen by Attorney General Martha Coakley, MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian A. Bowles. The ECSF investigates and prosecutes crimes that harm or threaten the state's water, air, or land and that pose a significant threat to human health.
The indictments were returned on March 25, 2010. The defendants were arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on April 13, 2010. On November 22, 2010, Garabedian pled guilty to all charges and was sentenced. On November, 24, 2010, both Toyias and Jayco pled guilty to the charges and were sentenced.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Rainer, Chief of AG Coakley's Environmental Crimes Strike Force. The lead investigators on the case were Detective Brian O'Connor of the Cambridge Police Department's Major Crimes Unit, and Richard Tomczyk of MassDEP.