Pruett is the owner and operator of two Monroe wastewater management companies, Louisiana Land and Water Company, and LWC Management Company. Pruett was sentenced today for multiple violations of the Clean Water Act, which involved the contamination of local drinking water supplies.
Jeff Pruett was sentenced by Judge Robbie James to spend 21 months in prison for failing to maintain and provide records, and for an effluent limitations violation. That includes a 12 month imprisonment stint for a misdemeanor count of failure to provide proper operation and maintenance, to run concurrent. Pruett will also face supervised release following his prison stay for one year.
The $850,000 fine is comprised of a fine personally assessed to Pruett worth $310,000; a $300,000 fine to LLWC, and a fine to LWC worth $240,000, according to US Attorney Stephanie Finley.
Cheryl Slavant, Ouachita Riverkeeper, calls the judge's decision justice for the citizens who constantly complained and had to live with what she called "third world conditions."
"This sends a message to utility operators who don't take care of things," she said, adding that she devoted ten years to gathering evidence that would seal Pruett's fate.
The prosecutors argued that Pruett was trying to further profit from the sale of LWC, by working on a deal worth over $6 million to a Canada-based utility company, despite his felony conviction.
Pruett told NBC 10 he was in good spirits, and that the "Good Lord's taking care of me!"
When Pruett was asked about whether he was being untruthful about his financial worth to the government, his attorney said, "Take a hike, lady!"
The feds presented e-mails that Pruett wrote that called the deal off, after he learned the government was trying to take a court order to seize the money from the sale.
The government agreed to seize part of the proceeds of the deal to cover some of the fines Pruett is facing.