NORTH GEORGIA BUSINESSMAN SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR DUMPING HAZARDOUS WASTE

(Media release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia):

Amin Ali has been sentenced for disposing of hazardous waste without a permit after dumping hundreds of drums in a chicken house in North Georgia.

 “Ali abused the North Georgia environment by illegally dumping hundreds of drums of waste,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “The environmental laws are designed to keep Georgia’s natural beauty available and safe for future generations and this office will work to enforce those laws.”

“This sentence serves as a reminder that if you choose to undermine environmental regulations by illegally dumping hazardous waste, you will be held accountable for your crimes,” said Special Agent in Charge Chuck Carfagno, of EPA CID Southeast Area Branch. “EPA and its state partners worked together to address the environmental problems and bring the defendant to justice.”

“This case demonstrates how local, state, and federal agencies work together to uphold and enforce laws designed to protect human health and the environment.  The Georgia Environmental Protection Division appreciates and would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the women and men who collectively held the responsible party accountable for his actions and developed plans to remediate this release.  Such blatant violations of our environmental laws pose serious risk to the surrounding community and to the natural resources of the State of Georgia and must be redressed,” said Sara Lips, Director of Communications and Community Engagement, Georgia DNR Environmental Protection Division.

According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court: The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) addresses the problem of hazardous waste transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal.  The RCRA is designed to protect human health and the environment by requiring the proper and safe management of hazardous waste – from the creation through the disposal of the waste material.  The RCRA prohibits the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste without a permit issued under the statute.  The RCRA also prohibits the transportation of hazardous waste to a facility that lacks a permit to accept hazardous waste.

The defendant, Amin Ali, owned and controlled Goldstar Investment Group LLC, 7 Days Property Management Inc., and Rock Springs Farming LLC.  Through these entities, he owned property in Dalton, Georgia (a warehouse formerly owned by a chemical company) and in Rock Springs, Georgia (a farming property containing several old chicken houses).

In August 2021, Ali possessed more than 100 drums and other containers of chemicals, including many containing hazardous waste, moved from the Goldstar property to the Rock Springs property.  The drums were discarded in one of the old chicken houses, with some of the drums left in an open trench to be buried.  Some of the contents of the drums spilled and leaked into the surrounding soil.

Subsequent testing of the drums and soil revealed the presence of benzene, lead, and chromium.  In addition, the contents of the drums were reactive and ignitable. 

After being alerted through a call to emergency services, Catoosa County, Georgia, Sheriff, Catoosa County Code Enforcement, Catoosa County Fire, Georgia Environmental Protection Division Emergency Response, Georgia Environmental Protection Division Hazardous Waste Management Section, and EPA Emergency Response responded to the scene.  Ultimately, the cost of the clean-up exceeded $500,000.

Amin Ali, 56, of Dalton, Georgia, has been sentenced to two months in prison to be followed by one year of supervised release and ordered to pay a $25,000 fine and restitution in the amount of $32,596.93.  Ali was convicted on June 22, 2022, after he pleaded guilty to the charges.

Working with our U.S. Department of Justice partners, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia seeks to secure environmental justice for all communities, to ensure that everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to a healthy environment in which to live, learn, play and work.  U.S. Attorney Buchanan encourages residents to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office via email at USAGAN.Environment@usdoj.gov when also contacting local, state, or federal agency hotlines or websites to report environmental, health and safety concerns. Notifying our Office helps us protect the community from harmful violations of federal health & safety laws.  For more information, see https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga/environmental-justice.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division Law Enforcement Unit.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Huber prosecuted the case.