FORT WAYNE, India (WANE) – A federal judge sentenced a Fort Wayne woman on Thursday to two years probation for forging documents and illegally storing hazardous waste at her local company.
Michelle M. Rousseff-Kemp has previously pleaded guilty to one charge of forgery and one charge of illegal storage of hazardous waste last year, according to the U.S. District.
According to various state and federal court records, she owns and acts as president of K-Com Transport Services, Inc., also known as KCOM Environmental, which advertises itself as an environmental services company that provides comprehensive waste management services.
Located at 1021 E. Wallace St., the business operates as a hazardous waste carrier and broker without ever obtaining the necessary permission to do so, according to federal prosecutors.
“Defendant falsified documents and knowingly violated legal requirements for the proper storage of hazardous waste,” said Larry Starfield, acting assistant administrator of the Law Enforcement and Compliance Office. “This case shows that people who knowingly violate environmental laws will be held accountable for their crimes.
According to federal court documents, Rousseff-Kemp’s company collected hazardous waste from another company that generated such waste in June 2018. In November 2018, the waste generator sent an email to Rousseff-Kemp requesting copies of manifestos for recent shipments of hazardous waste.
At one point, Rousseff-Kemp asked an employee of her company to forge the signature of a representative at a treatment, storage and disposal facility – where the waste is supposed to go – on the manifesto for that waste. When the employee refuses, Rousseff-Kemp falsifies the signature.
She sent the manifesto back to the waste generator with false information that the waste was delivered to the treatment facility when in fact it is still in Rousseff-Kemp’s business, according to court records.
Rousseff-Kemp then arranged for another transport company to take hazardous waste from a waste generator in March 2019, according to court documents. This waste was stored in its business and elsewhere until June 2019.
Meanwhile, Indiana’s Department of Environmental Management arranged with Rousseff-Kemp to conduct an inspection of its facility. Prior to the inspection, Rousseff-Kemp told someone she knew to transport three trailers containing drums of waste from her company’s facility to an off-site site, court documents said.
Two days later, she told IDEM inspectors that the only trailers that had previously been in her business this week were not present, but were empty.
This aroused suspicion, and soon the Northern Indiana Division of Environmental Crimes launched an investigation.
“Protecting public health and safety by enforcing federal criminal laws governing the proper storage of hazardous waste is paramount,” U.S. Attorney Clifford D. Johnson said in a statement. “My office has strong law enforcement partnerships through which we will investigate and prosecute those who endanger public health by violating these laws.”
Rousseff-Kemp was also sentenced to a $ 5,500 fine.
As part of the plea agreement, it must refrain from any business or profession related to waste management or the storage or transportation of hazardous waste, nor may it own, operate or operate any trucks or equipment needed for such a business.
Although a website for her business still exists, calls to Fort Wayne’s numbers fail to connect.
In recent years, Rousseff-Kemp has faced various lawsuits in the Allen Super Court for non-payment of credit lines or fees for renting trucks and equipment used by her company.
Since 2018, she has been sentenced to pay more than $ 700,000 for agreements, according to court records.