Hazardous Waste Polluter Sentenced, Charges Reduced
by Beverly Corbell
Oct 01, 2009 | 1629 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MONTROSE – A Montrose man charged with 44 felonies stemming from mishandling hazardous waste on his company property was sentenced in Montrose last week and given 135 days in jail, five years probation and 200 hours of community service.

Steven Casebolt, 50, was arrested in April of 2007 along with his father, Joseph Casebolt, who has since died. Charges against the Casebolts included suspicion of violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, including securities fraud and attempting to influence a public servant, along with 28 violations of the Colorado Hazardous Waste Act.

Before sentencing by Montrose County District Court Judge Jeff Herron, the charges against Steven Casebolt were reduced to two felony counts of illegally storing hazardous materials and one felony count of illegal treatment of hazardous waste.

The case was prosecuted by the state Attorney General’s office. Prosecutor Michael Molito had asked for the maximum penalty, 207 days in jail and fines of $150,000.

Casebolt will be on supervised probation and will be allowed to spend his jail time in a work release program in his new home state of Florida, where he will also perform his community service.

The Casebolt’s company, Precious Metals Recovery Inc., formerly known as Elizabeth Mining and Development, reclaimed precious metals from catalytic converters and had been in business since 1983.

According to the Casebolts’ arrest warrant, Elizabeth Mining was responsible for a previous Super Fund cleanup site on Bill Road in Montrose. The warrant stated that the company was “illegally treating, storing and disposing hazardous waste and potentially contaminating the waters of the state of Colorado.”

Precious Metals Recovery was first investigated by the state public health department in 2005 and was cited for numerous violations by the state as well as violations by the Montrose Fire Department for improperly handling of hazardous wastes at its 30-acre site on 6300 Road.

Last year, the state health department fined Steven Casebolt $420,000 for violations and told him to cease operations and all treatment of hazardous waste at the plant.

Business associate, Wayne Ratner of Maury County, Tenn., faced the same charges as the Casebolts. He pleaded guilty to a felony charge of selling unregistered securities and received three years probation.

If Casebolt and Ratner had been convicted of the original charges, they each could have faced 24 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million per charge.
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