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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information:
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April 7, 2009  

Peter Aseltine
609-292-4791

Office of The Attorney General
- Anne Milgram, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Deborah L. Gramiccioni, Director

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Owner of Firms that Tested and Removed Underground Storage Tanks Charged with Falsifying Test Results to Generate Business

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TRENTON – Attorney General Anne Milgram and Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni announced that a Virginia man who formerly ran a company in Lincoln Park, N.J., that tested underground storage tanks has been indicted on conspiracy and racketeering charges for defrauding hundreds of clients by falsifying test results to generate business for his tank removal company.

According to Director Gramiccioni, Albert Taylor, 48, of Rocky Mount, Va., was charged today in a four-count state grand jury indictment with racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering, both in the second degree, and two counts of third-degree theft by deception. The charges resulted from an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau - Environmental Crimes Section.

“We charge that this defendant systematically defrauded clients by falsifying test results to generate business,” said Attorney General Milgram. “This defendant preyed on the fears of customers who were worried about the potential liability posed by a leaking underground tank.”

Taylor formerly lived in Lincoln Park, where he operated a tank testing company that did business under a number of names, including Tank Automation, Tank Tek, IDC Tank, All Tank Services, Tank Environmental Service, and Computek Services LLC. The indictment alleges that between January 2006 and January 2008, Taylor charged several hundred clients $250 to $1,200 to have his company evaluate whether an underground storage tank was leaking. The clients were typically owners or purchasers of homes with underground storage tanks.

Taylor claimed his company used high-tech equipment to perform two tests on the tanks. However, his employees allegedly did not use the equipment necessary for one test. For the second test, they used equipment that was broken, failed to use the equipment properly, and recorded insufficient data to make any determination regarding the integrity of the tank. Almost every client was told that the evaluation revealed that the tank was leaking.

The indictment further alleges that Taylor charged numerous clients $325 to $850 to take soil samples to determine whether tanks were leaking. He allegedly had employees add oil to the samples. After the clients were told the tank was leaking, Taylor allegedly had his employees recommend Tank Management as a reputable company to remove the tank, without disclosing that Taylor owned Tank Management.

“The Division of Criminal Justice is focusing on more complex white collar crime cases, including racketeering cases such as this one,” said Director Gramiccioni. “Our detectives and attorney did an outstanding job putting together this complicated environmental fraud case.”

The investigation was conducted and coordinated by Detective Steven Ogulin, Detective Michael Klumpp, Lt. Jeffrey Gross and Deputy Attorney General Phillip Leahy of the Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau - Environmental Crimes Section. Deputy Attorney General Leahy presented the case to the state grand jury.

Attorney General Milgram thanked the Westchester County District Attorney's Office in New York State and the New York State Environmental Conservation Police for their assistance in the investigation. In addition, she thanked the Lincoln Park Police and Passaic County Sheriff's Department for assisting in executing search warrants.

Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a $150,000 criminal fine, while third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. A copy of the indictment is linked to this release at www.njpublicsafety.com.

The indictment was voted yesterday afternoon and handed up to Superior Court Judge Maria Marinari Sypek in Mercer County. It was filed in court today. Judge Sypek assigned the case to Morris County, where Taylor will be arraigned at a later date.

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