Five people associated with an environmental firm in Springfield are accused of cheating the Illinois EPA.
The defendants are charged with mail fraud and wire fraud in federal court in Springfield, accused of being hired to remove underground storage tanks from former gas station properties, and either inflating the invoices or not doing the work at all and still billing the EPA for it.
Spokesman Andrew Mason says the investigation began when an inspector found that a concrete pad was supposed to be installed at a site in McLean County in 2010, but wasn’t.
“Doing that type of thing requires follow-up efforts years after the fact, and so the inspector was just doing a routine follow-up, and he noted that they never laid the concrete, but yet they billed for it, so that raised some questions,” he said.
The over-billing or lack of work is alleged to have occurred at hundreds of sites around the state, and is worth $13.6 million. The EPA wants restitution, while the FBI is pressing the criminal charges.
The company in question is Environmental Management Inc. The individual defendants are Eric M. Andrews, Joel C. Andrews, Michael R. Keebler, Duane T. Keebler and Joseph R. Keebler.
Under the Leaking Underground Storage Tank program, the property owner hires the tank removal contractor, who then performs the work and submits a bill to the property owner. The property owner then passes along the invoice to the EPA, which then pays the contractor.