Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A $500,000 Fine for a Major Company

According to a press release here of the U.S.Attorneys Office for the Northern District of California, a major international company, "A.P. Moller-Maersk, A/S of Denmark (“Maersk”) pleaded guilty today to providing false documents to the U.S. Coast Guard" resulting in a fine of $500,000 and an agreement to abide by an environmental compliance program.  The fine is the maximum fine allowed by law for this offense, a violation of 18 U.S.C. s 1001. 

The press release states that

"[t]he government’s investigation began on May 25, 2004, when members of the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office discovered waste oil in the overboard piping of the M/V Jane Maersk during a routine inspection.  Further investigation by the Coast Guard and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division also uncovered evidence of false entries made in the Oil Record Book (ORB), a document required by MARPOL, a treaty ratified and implemented by the United States and other countries."

One individual previously plead guilty and received a sentence of four months community confinement for "destroying records, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1519."   

Interestingly, the press release says at the bottom that "[t]he prosecution is the result of a 15 month investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Services and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division, with assistance from the Coast Guard Pacific JAG Office."


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