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California Man Pleads Guilty to CFC Smuggling

July 10, 1998
EPA Press Advisory

Jack S. Katzman of Yucaipa, Calif., pleaded guilty on June 29 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles to violating the Clean Air Act by smuggling the ozone-depleting refrigerant gas CFC-12 into the United States from Mexico. Katzman admitted that he used his business, Aire-Right's Air Conditioning and Heating Supplies in Yucaipa, to receive, conceal, and sell 30 pound cylinders of CFC-12.

The production of CFC-12 is being phased out under the world-wide Montreal Protocol because it damages the earth's protective ozone layer. Currently CFC-12 production and importation is highly restricted in the United States by federal law, however it can still be legally produced in large quantities in Mexico.

Increased human exposure to ultraviolet radiation due to ozone depletion can lead to skin cancer and cataracts. When sentenced, Katzman faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and fines of $500,000. This case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Customs Service.

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