Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Florida man pleads guilty to Illegal Smuggling of HCFC-22

Brendan Clery, 34, of Miami, pled guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Adalberto Jordan to a one count Information charging him with knowingly importing approximately 278,256 kilograms of illegal hydrochlorofluorocarbon - 22 (HCFC-22), contrary to the provisions of the Clean Air Act (CAA). HCFC-22 is a widely used refrigerant for residential heat pump and air-conditioning systems.

According to court records and statements made in court, in 2005 Clery formed Lateral Investments, a Florida corporation, for the purpose of importing merchandise, including refrigerant gas. Clery was the President of Lateral. Between June and August 2007, Clery illegally smuggled large quantities of HCFC-22 into the United States to sell on the black market. At no time did Clery or Lateral Investments hold unexpended consumption allowances that would have allowed them to legally import the HCFC-22. During 2007, Clery illegally imported approximately 278,256 kilograms or 20,460 cylinders of restricted HCFC-22, with a market value of $1,438,270.

United States Attorney Ferrer said, “The illegal importation of ozone depleting substances threatens our well being and endangers our environment. My Office will continue to support the EPA and ICE in our efforts to enforce our nation’s laws and protect our environment.”

Sentencing has been scheduled for July 29, 2011 at 9:00 AM. The statutory maximum term of imprisonment for Clery is 20 years and a fine of $250,000. In addition, the defendant could be ordered to forfeit the illegal proceeds of his conduct.

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