Home San Diego Press Releases 2009 Indictment Charges Technician with Preparing False Landfill Gas Emission Reports

Indictment Charges Technician with Preparing False Landfill Gas Emission Reports

U.S. Attorney’s Office November 13, 2009
  • Southern District of California (619) 557-5610

United States Attorney Karen P. Hewitt announced that Atticus Gee was arraigned today in federal court in San Diego before U.S. Magistrate Judge William McCurine on charges of mail fraud, making false statements, and tampering with a monitoring method. The indictment alleges that Gee prepared false landfill gas emission reports by copying data already in his computer database without conducting the actual monitoring.

According to the indictment, between October 2004 and May 2007, Gee was employed as a technician by a company under contract with the San Diego County Department of Public Works, responsible for taking readings of the emissions of landfill gases from closed landfills within the County of San Diego, including the San Marcos Landfill, the Palomar Airport Landfill, the Bonsall Landfill, the Encinitas Landfill, and the Hillsborough Landfill, among others. When landfills reach their final capacity, they can be capped by covering them with earth and other substances. In order to prevent underground fires, methane extraction vents are be installed. The emissions to the air from such methane extraction vents are regulated in San Diego by permits issued by the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District. Those permits place limits on the emissions and require periodic monitoring reports and certifications of compliance relating to the emissions to be submitted by the San Diego County Department of Public Works. According to the indictment, on September 23, 2005, an underground fire was discovered at the Palomar Airport Landfill, although no unusual readings had been reported in the monitoring data from the methane extraction wells and migration probes at that location.

Magistrate Judge William McCurine set a $10,000 bond and Gee is next scheduled to appear in court before United States District Court Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz on December 18, 2009, at 2:00 p.m. for motion hearing and trial setting.

DEFENDANT CRIMINAL CASE NO. 09CR4121-BTM
Atticus Gee  

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Count 1 - Mail Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341 Maximum Penalty: 20 years in custody and/or $250,000 fine

Count 2 -False Statements, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001 Maximum Penalty: 5 years in custody and/or $250,000 fine

Count 3 -Tampering with a Monitoring Method, in violation of Title 42, United States Code, Section 7413(c)(2)(c) Maximum Penalty: Two years in custody and/or $250,000 fine

AGENCIES

Federal Bureau of Investigation
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Criminal Investigations Division

An indictment itself is not evidence that the defendant committed the crimes charged. The defendant is presumed innocent until the Government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.