IDEM’s criminal investigators investigate allegations of criminal violations of Indiana’s environmental protection laws. They prepare cases for presentation to either a state or federal prosecutor who has jurisdiction over the alleged violations. A violation of Indiana’s environmental protection laws may be considered criminal when it is done knowingly, intentionally, willfully, and/or recklessly. Most environmental crimes are misdemeanors. However, an environmental crime is a felony if the offense results in damage to the environment that makes the environment unfit for humans or vertebrate animals.
Since IDEM’s criminal investigators are not law enforcement officers, they work closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement officers who assist in the investigation or the execution of search warrants and arrest warrants. The investigators also assist IDEM program areas in administrative and civil investigations, and provide training for IDEM personnel.
If you believe that an environmental crime has been committed, please file a complaint through one of the methods shown on the IDEM File a Complaint page. IDEM staff will investigate the complaint and determine whether criminal investigators should be involved.
Criminal Investigation Successes
Tank removal contractor pled guilty to continuing unlawful discharge of tank pit water to Lamb Creek over a six-week period
Robert Dalton was charged in Morgan County Superior Court 2 with a Class C Misdemeanor for discharging tank pit water contaminated with petroleum into Lamb Creek, near the intersection of State Road 147 and Wilbur Road. Charging information alleged that tank removal contractor Robert Dalton used a hose to pump from a tank pit into Lamb Creek while he was working on a fuel tank, beginning on March 28 through May 16, 2016, after having been told by IDEM emergency responders on March 28 to stop pumping into the creek. On November 3, 2016, a plea agreement was filed and a judgment was entered against Dalton, who was sentenced to 60 days. Dalton was also ordered to pay court costs of $183 and a fine of $500.
Apartment complex owner and employee pled guilty to falsifying records submitted to IDEM
Patrick Steinke and Brittany Jarrette were charged in Jasper County for submitting falsified documents to IDEM concerning the drinking water supply for Heritage Park Apartments. In late 2015, IDEM’s Drinking Water Branch attempted to contact the certified operator, because of sampling problems. IDEM then discovered that the certified operator, who was signing records submitted to IDEM in 2014 and 2015, passed away on November 29, 2013. Both Patrick Steinke and Brittany Jarrette were charged with one Count IC 35-43-5-2(d)(1) Forgery with the intent to defraud, a Level 6 Felony; and one Count IC 13-30-10-1(a) Environmental Records Offense/False Certification of a Record, a Class B Misdemeanor. Patrick Steinke pled guilty to the Level 6 Felony Forgery and was sentenced to 20 hours of community service, 547 days in jail suspended, 18 months on probation, and assessed fines and court costs. Brittany Jarrette pled guilty to the Class B Misdemeanor False Certification of a Record and was sentenced to 20 hours community service, 180 days in jail suspended, 6 months on probation, and assessed fines and court costs.