Guilty Plea in OSHA Impersonation Case

Connie M. Knight pleaded guilty to three felony charges and a misdemeanor charge that she created fall documents in order to deliver hazardous waste training to people seeking to work in oil spill cleanup.

Connie M. Knight, 46, previously of Belle Chasse, La., pleaded guilty in a New Orleans federal court Jan. 24 to three felony criminal charges and one misdemeanor criminal charge for creating false identification documents and impersonating a federal official. Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, and Dana Boente, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, announced the plea in a release saying Knight's plea agreement explained she had impersonated a high-ranking OSHA hazardous waste safety instructor and inspector in order to collect money from people hoping to work on the cleanup after the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Knight created a false federal ID badge stating she was an OSHA Master Level V Instructor and Inspector, even though there is no such OSHA designation. She created false federal badges for her employees; these people were residents of Southeast Asian fishing communities in Southern Louisiana, and they believed they were working for OSHA, according to the release.

The employees also provided a way for Knight to contact those communities. The release says Knight required each attendee to pay between $150 and $400 cash to enter a class. Her classes "lasted as little as two hours, while the legitimate certifications would take at least six days of classroom training and three days of on-site training. Though many of her attendees were Vietnamese, Laotian or Cambodian, Knight spoke only English at the classes, and all materials were in English. At least some attendees later gained access to hazardous waste cleanup sites based on the fraudulent certifications created by Knight," the release explains.

Producing fraudulent federal ID documents carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, and possessing a fraudulent federal ID document carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of $100,000. Each of two counts of falsely impersonating a federal employee carries a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General and the EPA Criminal Investigation Division, with assistance from OSHA, the FBI, and investigators from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Plaquemines Parish, La., Sheriff's office.

Product Showcase

  • AirChek Connect Sampling Pump

    Stay connected to your sampling with the SKC AirChek® Connect Sampling Pump! With its Bluetooth connection to PC and mobile devices, you can monitor AirChek Connect pump operation without disrupting workflow. SKC designed AirChek Connect specifically for all OEHS professionals to ensure accurate, reliable flows from 5 to 5000 ml/min and extreme ease of use. AirChek Connect offers easy touch screen operation and flexibility. It is quality built to serve you and the workers you protect. Ask about special pricing and a demo at AIHA Connect Booth 1003. Read More

  • SwabTek® Cannabis Test Kit

    The SwabTek® Cannabis Test Kit is a single-use spot test designed for use in screening for cannabis compounds in any sample type or on any surface. The test is capable of identifying the presumed presence of cannabinoids in very small quantities, with a level of detection as little as 6 μg in mass. Learn more about the SwabTek® Cannabis Test Kit and the rest of SwabTek surface drug testing solutions through the webinar titled "Everything You Want To Know About Surface Testing" Read More

  • SECUPRO MARTEGO

    FOR HIGHEST DEMANDS. A cutting tool in which function and design go hand in hand. Meet the SECUPRO MARTEGO, our prize-winning squeeze-grip safety knife with fully automatic retractable blade for safety. • Ergonomically friendly trigger mechanism to engage the blade • Durable body made of aluminum • Safer alternative to fixed blade utility knives for general cutting tasks • 9 mm Cutting depth • Easy, tool free blade change Dimensions: L 6.10" L x 0.71" W x 1.91" H Weight: 3.70 oz Cutting Depth: 9 mm Read More

Featured

Webinars