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Hazardous Waste Handler to Pay $1.29 Million for Violating Environmental Laws

Hormoz Pourat, vice president of AAD Distribution and Dry Cleaning Services, Inc., of Vernon, CA was ordered by a U.S. District Court judge in Los Angeles, CA, to 37 months in prison and fined $1.29 million for conspiring to violate hazardous waste laws. AAD was one of Southern California's largest handlers of dry cleaning waste before authorities shut it down in January 2001. AAD charged cleaning establishments to pick up, treat, and arrange for the disposal of the dry cleaning compound, perchloroethylene (PERC), a cancer-causing chemical. The AAD facility had greatly exceeded the storage limit for hazardous waste containers under its state hazardous waste permit, but from 1999 to 2001 Pourat continued to pick up drums of PERC waste from customers and store them. To hide the permit violations from city and state inspectors, he and his partners loaded the drums onto trucks before inspections, shipped them off-site, stored them at facilities that were not permitted to store hazmat, and falsified the shipment manifests.

Two other defendants were also charged. Behzad Kahoolyzadeh is scheduled for trial on January 27. Harry Pourat, Hormoz's brother, fled to Scotland after being indicted and later committed suicide.