I was recently on a panel with Fred Burnside, the Director of the Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics and Training for the USEPA. Some of the things he passed along to the attendees are worth passing on here.
In response to the rhetorical question “Why bring a criminal case?” the response was “Prison cannot be passed along to consumers as a ‘cost of doing business.’” An interesting point. In response to what makes a criminal case, the answer was somewhat expected: “Lying, cheating, stealing and money.” All this time, I thought it was which side of the USEPA got to the door first.
Some statistics as well. The USEPA has about 750 open cases. The USEPA’s priorities for bringing a case are based upon: 1) what case will make a high impact; 2) national enforcement initiatives; 3) regional enforcement initiatives; and 4) emerging environmental problems. The USEPA has 388 individuals working variously as criminal investigators, scientists, technical staff, lawyers and administrative personnel. This includes 220 individuals in the CID, 96 individuals at the NEIC, 25 individuals in Homeland Security and 17 lawyers.
The USEPA gets about 1,500 leads annually. Of those 1,500 leads, about twenty (20) percent result in opened cases. When the USEPA executes a search warrant, charges are filed in about sixty-seven (67) percent of those matters. The USEPA has a ninety-five (95) percent conviction rate. Not too bad.
One of the emerging areas of investigation for the USEPA CID is e-waste. Be forewarned!!
As always, feel free to contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.