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United States v. Anaconda Wire & Cable Co.

Citation: 2 ELR 20315
No. No. 71-Cr. 1020, 342 F. Supp. 1116/4 ERC 1135/(S.D.N.Y., 05/22/1972)

Persons who supply information which leads to conviction under the Refuse Act are entitled to one-half of the fine imposed, and the court has no discretion to award less. However, where conviction is on a multi-count indictment, the language of the statute and sound policy do permit an award of less than one-half the total fine imposed in order to fit the reward to the actual value of the information supplied and to allow for the equitable apportionment of the reward among multiple informers. The reward may be set at an amount equal to one-half the total fine imposed on any specific number of counts. The procedure for determining a claim for the reward is a post-conviction hearing. A claimant should only be required to prove the collection and transmittal of information which could have provided an adequate basis for the decision to initiate a criminal investigation. The Government would then have to substantiate the claimant's allegation with information in its sole possession, or, in contested cases, to persuade the court that the prosecution was independent of information provided by the claimant and was uninfluenced by its activities. The activities of the claimant here unquestionably did lead to conviction, notbecause it provided expert reports of detailed chemical analysis of particular effluents discharged, nor even because it was first to discover the fact of unlawful discharge. Rather, claimant persistently challenged the bureaucratic inertia which characteristically prevents effective governmental action on controversial matters. The claimant was one of five organizations — four being government agencies ineligible for the reward — presenting information to the U.S. Attorney's office. The potential $100,000 reward in this case is "apportioned" among the five informers and one-fifth of the total is awarded to the claimant for causing the conviction on the first 20 counts.

Counsel for United States
Whitney North Seymour, Jr. U.S. Attorney
Ross Sandler Asst. U.S. Attorney
U.S. Courthouse
Foley Square
New York, New York 10007

Counsel for Claimant
William B. Rozell
14 Wall Street
New York, New York 10005