Queens Dismantler Found Guilty Of Environmental Law Violations

Attorney General Spitzer today announced the conviction of Mordechay Sasy and his corporation, M&H Used Auto Parts & Cars, Inc., after a six day jury trial in front of the Hon. Arthur J. Cooperman, for improperly dumping pollutants onto their own property and into Flushing Bay. After the verdicts were handed down, the court set bail at $2,500 pending sentencing for the defendants on November 7. Sasy faces up to nine years in prison and potential fines of up to $225,000.

Sasy and the corporation were convicted of dumping more than 100 gallons of motor oil, gasoline and transmission fluid. In addition, the jury found the defendant had a sump pump to discharge the pollutants into Flushing Bay. The criminal conduct took place primarily from May of 1999 to January of 2000.

Sasy and the corporation were each found guilty of one count of Endangering Public Health Safety or the Environment in the Third Degree, one count of Constructing or Operating a Point Source without a State Pollution Discharge Elimination Permit, both Class E Felonies, and three misdemeanor counts each of Endangering Public Health Safety or the Environment in the Fourth Degree. Sasy and M&H Auto Repair, a dismantling and repair company, were indicted in April of 2001.

"Our citizens deserve clean water," Spitzer said. "You dump and we'll prosecute. In this case, environmental crime did not pay."

Sasy's company, located at 126-31 38th Avenue, in the shadow of Shea Stadium, is in the area known as the "Iron Triangle" due to the concentration of vehicle repair and dismantling firms located there. According to the testimony at the trial, in the course of the operation of the business Sasy routinely dismantled the vehicles in a manner that allowed spent fluids, such as motor oil, transmission fluid and antifreeze, to drain onto the ground, which is a violation of the law. Before a vehicle is dismantled, these fluids are supposed to be drained and either properly disposed of or recycled.

This case was part of a year-long investigation in Willets Point where 35 people and 21 junkyards were indicted in April of 2001 for a variety of environmental law violations. This is the final case to be adjudicated as part of the investigation. The Attorney General's Office previously obtained guilty pleas from more than fifty of the individual defendants and corporations, which resulted in the payment of more than $100,000 in fines and forfeitures and the entry of civil consent judgments requiring businesses to clean up their properties.

The case was tried by Assistant Attorneys General Julieta Lozano and Hugh L. McLean, of the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Unit. The Attorney General thanks the Auto Crimes Unit of the New York City Police Department and the New State Department of Environmental Conservation for their participation in the investigation and prosecution of the case.