GREENVILLE, Miss. (WJTV) – A Greenville lab operator, hired to test water samples in the Mississippi Delta, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. John Couey, 44, was convicted for submitting false statements and lab results to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
Couey entered a guilty plea to five felony counts of knowingly making false material statements in documents required to be maintained under the Clean Water Act.
Prosecutors said Couey is the owner and lab director of Davis Research, Inc., an environmental analytical laboratory located in Avon, Mississippi. Davis Research performed analytical testing services for more than 100 cities, towns, state and federal agencies, and businesses in the Mississippi Delta.
Investigators said Couey, as lab director, falsified over 1,000 laboratory reports that were submitted to MDEQ to demonstrate compliance under the Clean Water Act.
The judge sentenced Couey to 18 months incarceration on each of the five counts of conviction, to run concurrently. Upon release from prison, Couey will be placed on supervised release for a term of one year. He is scheduled to report to prison on March 16, 2020.
William C. Lamar, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi, said, “One of our top priorities is to protect the environment from those who would disregard our environmental regulations and laws, placing in jeopardy the well-being of our citizens.”
“The defendant in this case is alleged to have falsified thousands of water test results, including results used to confirm the safety of drinking water,” said Charles Carfagno, acting Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Mississippi. “This case demonstrates that EPA will hold accountable those who violate laws designed to protect the health and safety of our communities.”