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Published: Tuesday, 1/10/2012

Findlay man sentenced for false reports

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The owner of a company hired to perform water testing in Toledo was sentenced in Lucas County Common Pleas Court Tuesday for his role in falsifying records.

Greg Kuch, 58, of Findlay, was sentenced to four years of community control, including 100 hours of community service and $10,000 in restitution.

Kuch had previously been found guilty of one count of tampering with records for submitting false reports to the city as a consultant for Omni Source to Toledo Environmental Services.

In a statement released after the hearing, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine noted that the sentence was the result of an investigation by the state Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. EPA Criminal Investigation Division, and the Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation.

“I commend the investigators from BCI, Ohio EPA and U.S. EPA for uncovering this criminal record tampering,” he said in the statement. “Today’s sentence shows that falsifying records to skirt Ohio’s environmental protection laws will not be tolerated.”

Kuch and the Findlay-based company for which he was owner, State Tank Remediation, were indicted in May on charges that he “submitted falsified reports … pertaining to discharge of sewage, industrial wastes, and other wastes.”

Kuch, acting as an agent for the now-defunct firm, was hired to perform water testing at Omni Source, a metal recycling company. The testing was a condition required by the company’s permits with the city.

The Toledo Division of Environmental Services alerted the state to possible criminal violations in 2009. Authorities said that the department noticed that information on spring 2009 sampling reports filed by Kuch’s company on behalf of Omni Source were incorrect.

Authorities said that the investigation revealed that although he filed reports indicating proper testing, Kuch had not taken all of the samples required by permits for Omni Source’s three Toledo locations. “Investigators determined there were multiple false statements filed in sampling reports submitted to Toledo [Division of Environmental Services] between 2003 and 2009,” the state attorney general’s office said.

Kuch apologized for his actions in court Tuesday. His attorney, Sheldon Wittenberg, told Judge Myron Duhart that Kuch had no previous felony record and had lost “a good quantity of work” as a result of the conviction.

Mr. Wittenberg declined to comment after the sentencing.

In an Alford plea, the defendant maintains his innocence or does not admit he committed a crime, but acknowledges evidence is sufficient for a conviction. The court treats it as a guilty plea.

Judge Duhart noted that Kuch appeared to be a “law-abiding citizen but for this matter.” He added that he received several letters in support of Kuch.

As part of the restitution, the judge ordered Kuch to pay $5,000 to Omni Source and $5,000 to the state EPA. Per the agreement with the state attorney general’s office, a lower felony grand theft charge and a misdemeanor falsification charge was dismissed.

Similar charges against the now-defunct company were dismissed Tuesday.

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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