Attorney General files criminal charges against Marcellus Shale waste hauler
State Attorney General Kathleen Kane has filed 64 criminal charges against the owner of a Northumberland County company that hauls waste and equipment for the natural gas industry.
The extensive list of charges against Milton-based Minuteman include multiple counts of fraud and criminal conspiracy related to illegal dumping and overbilling major natural gas companies.
The investigation stems from allegations that Minuteman and its owner, 43 year-old Brian Bolus, was dumping solid waste from gas drilling operations in several counties.
Bolus and Minuteman (which includes Minuteman Towing Inc., Minuteman Spill Response Inc. and Minuteman Environmental Services Inc.) also allegedly overbilled every business with which they contracted by at least one hour per invoice.
According to the grand jury report, the company defrauded dozens of natural gas companies– including Cabot Oil & Gas, Chesapeake Energy, EQT, Range Resources, Halliburton, and ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO.
“Brian Bolus and Minuteman blatantly exploited hard-working employees, dozens of businesses and the environment,” Attorney General Kane said in a statement. “The laws are in place to ensure that all businesses are on a level playing field. When one company cheats, all good companies and the citizens of Pennsylvania suffer as a result.”
As StateImpact Pennsylvania has previously reported, Minuteman was raided by federal and state authorities last May. Bolus could not immediately be reached for comment.
In a statement after the raid last spring, Bolus called the investigation “baseless.”
Kane is also filing charges against members of Bolus’ family.
The grand jury found that siblings Robert “Bobby” Bolus Jr. and Debra Bolus, mother Julie Bolus and Sophie Gregory, the elder Bolus’s fiancée, were ghost employees and they conspired together to be eligible for group health insurance.
If convicted of all charges, Brian Bolus faces a maximum fine of $1.4 million.
The Sunbury Daily Item recently reported Bolus has filed for bankruptcy protection for Minuteman, but he issued a statement his business operations “will continue with a bright future ahead.”
Governor Corbett visited the company in February 2012 and touted it as an “American success story.” According to state campaign finance records, Bolus gave $10,000 to Corbett in 2009 and 2010.
Appearing at another Northumberland County business last June, Corbett said he was not well-acquainted with Bolus.
“I’ve met him twice,” Corbett said while touring ACF Industries in Milton.
Read the grand jury report below