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US attorney wants max sentence for Lupo

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


The assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting Ben Lupo for illegal discharges of oil-field waste into a Mahoning River tributary in Youngstown wants the maximum sentence — three years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine — to deter others from similar conduct.

However, Lupo’s lawyers say probation or house arrest is appropriate because “any period of incarceration will be a death sentence” for Lupo, a diabetic kidney transplant and knee-replacement recipient, who undergoes kidney dialysis five times a week.

Both sides filed their written sentencing proposals Tuesday in federal court.

U.S. District Judge Donald C. Nugent will sentence Lupo, 64, of New Springfield, at 10 a.m. Tuesday based on Lupo’s guilty plea to violating the federal Clean Water Act.

Two employees of Lupo’s Hardrock Excavating LLC — Mark A. Goff, 46, of Newton Falls, and Michael P. Guesman, 35, of Cortland — pleaded guilty to the same charge and received three years’ probation after saying they repeatedly dumped the waste at Lupo’s direction.

A Jan. 31, 2013, discharge of brine, drilling mud and drill cuttings triggered a multiagency investigation and a $3.1 million cleanup.

Brad J. Beeson, the assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case, said the maximum sentence is justified by the repeated, unpermitted discharges of pollutants, Lupo’s supervisory role and the high cleanup cost.

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