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Courts and Crime

Frac-waste dumper loses bid to get less prison time by paying a higher fine
Youngstown area businessman gets 28 months in prison and a $25,000 fine for violating the Clean Water Act

Tim Rudell
Ben Lupo leaving federal court in Cleveland
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In The Region:

A former drilling company owner in Youngstown made an unusual request as he was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Cleveland for violating the Clean Water Act.  Ben Lupo, who admitted he dumped fracking waste into a tributary of the Mahoning River, asked to pay a fine five times higher than prosecutors called for.  But as WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports, he wanted something in return.

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In 2013, Ben Lupo was charged with ordering two employees to flush oily waste dozens of times down a culvert leading to the Mahoning River.  Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty.

But, at sentencing,
his lawyers said his health is now so poor he fears he may not survive prison, and he hoped he could pay an outsized fine and be held under house arrest instead. Federal Building, ClevelandJudge Donald Nugent said that would be like letting a person of means buy his way out of incarceration, and sentenced him to him to 28 months in prison. 

U.S. Attorney Steven DettelbachU.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said the sentence is justified. “People need to understand that polluting is not just going to cost you money, it’s going to cost you your freedom.  And that’s the message that needs to go out. Not just to the shmoes who are left turning the handle. That’s the message that has to go out to the bosses, like Mr. Lupo.

The two Lupo employees got probation for their part in the dumping.  

Related WKSU Stories

Frac-water dumper gets 28 months in federal prison
Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Youngstown residents say the fracking sentence was an important message
Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Third person charged in illegal dumping of fracking waste
Friday, March 28, 2014

Youngstown man accused of dumping fracwater is set to change his plea today
Monday, March 24, 2014

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