A former executive at Bennett Environmental Inc., a Canadian based corporation that treats and disposes of contaminated soil was sentenced to 50 months in prison today for money laundering and defrauding the EPA. The executive, Robert Griffiths, was also ordered to pay restitution of US$4.6 million. Griffiths pleaded guilty in 2009 to defrauding the EPA by inflating the prices he charged to a prime contractor of the EPA and providing kickbacks to employees of that prime contractor from 2001 until 2004. The kickbacks were in the form of money transferred by wire to a co-conspirator’s shell company, lavish cruises for senior officials of the prime contractor, various entertainment tickets, pharmaceuticals and home entertainment electronics. Griffiths laundered approximately US$207,000 in proceeds of crime through a bank account in Ontario.
In 2009, Bennett’s founder John Bennett, was indicted in the U.S. and faces charges of money laundering and fraud. He recently succeeded in obtaining orders from Ontario courts that his corporation pay his legal bills – that decision is inconsistent with U.S. decisions that exempt corporations and their insurers from paying the legal bills for persons accused of being involved in money laundering.