The former chief executive officer of an environmental consultant was sentenced to three years in prison for fabricating at least 405 water quality reports that were sent to state environmental agencies as part of the environmental permitting process.
DiAne Gordon, also a former co-owner of Tennessee-based Environmental Compliance & Testing (ECT), submitted false reports starting in 2017 to regulators in Tennessee and Mississippi, the Department of Justice said in a press release Monday. Gordon was sentenced by Judge John Fowlkes Jr. of the Western District of Tennessee to 26 months for engaging in fraud and received an additional 10 months for engaging in criminal conduct while she was under supervision.
Gordon must also pay approximately $222,000 in restitution.
ECT provides environmental consulting and testing services, including testing stormwater and wastewater, as it relates to complying with the federal Clean Water Act. Concrete companies and other businesses hired ECT to take water samples and get them analyzed, sometimes by using outside laboratories.
Gordon claimed she gathered water samples and sent them to a laboratory for analysis, according to the DOJ. The completed laboratory reports were then sent to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation, as part of environmental permitting applications typically required of companies discharging wastewater or stormwater.
Investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found Gordon fabricated the test results and forged documents from a testing laboratory, the DOJ said.
Gordon pleaded guilty in October 2021 to knowingly and willfully making and using false writings and documents in a matter within the jurisdiction of the EPA.
“Today’s sentence appropriately reflects the harm caused by Gordon’s betrayal of her position of trust and her fraud upon her customers, the regulatory authorities, and the citizens of Tennessee and Mississippi,” Todd Kim, assistant attorney in the DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, said in a statement.
“Mrs. Gordon fully acted on her own accord during this time,” as signed legal documents show, ECT President Michael Tooley said in an emailed statement. “No one in the company had any knowledge of her actions until after she was contacted by federal agents. She was immediately terminated and removed from anything related to ECT. We obviously don’t condone such behavior.”