Herkimer County, NY (WIBX) - The Department of Justice charged four people yesterday for allegedly conspiring to dump thousands of tons of asbestos contaminated debris at a local farm with federally-regulated wetlands.

Officials say those arrested concocted an elaborate scheme to illegally dump the hazardous debris at Cross Nicastro II's farm in Frankfort.

Department of Environmental Conservation, Citizen Participation Specialist, Stephen Litwhiler says there's a reason why Congress enacted laws to protect the environment and people from these types of crimes. "All waste has its place, and it's never just being dumped onto the landscape. The case that you're referring to, where it was illegal dumping of asbestos--asbestos is particularly problematic because it makes people sick," he said. Asbestos is an atmospheric pollutant that can get into peoples lungs and can cause many respiratory diseases, and environmental laws mandate that the material is handled and disposed off properly.

Those arrested and charged:

The report states that Julius DeSimone, 69, of Rome, Donald Torriero, 54, of Wellington FL, Cross Nicastro II, 59, of Frankfort, and Dominick Mazza, 60, of Tinton Falls, N.J., were arrested for the illegal dumping in Frankfort in 2006, and are facing a seven count indictment. Officials say Dominick Mazza's New Jersey-based company, Mazza & Sons Inc., was also indicted. The suspects were arrested at their homes yesterday and their arraignment has tentatively been set for June 13, 2011, in Syracuse, N.Y.

Federal prosecutors charge in court documents that, "Donald Torriero and other conspirators concealed the illegal dumping by fabricating a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) permit and forging the name of a DEC official on the fraudulent permit. Once the conspirators learned that they were under investigation, they began a systematic pattern of document concealment, alteration and destruction by destroying and secreting documents responsive to grand jury subpoenas and falsifying and submitting environmental sampling to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)."

The indictment charges the defendants with, "conspiracy to defraud the United States, violate the Clean Water Act and Superfund laws, and commit wire fraud. Donald Torriero is also charged with wire fraud associated with his fabrication and transmission of the fake permit the conspirators used to conceal the dumping. Mazza & Sons Inc., and its owner, Dominick Mazza, are charged with violating the Superfund law's requirement to report the release of toxic materials and obstruction of justice. Dominick Mazza and Julius DeSimone are charged with making false statements to EPA special agents."

The charges carry the following penalties:

"The conspiracy and substantive Clean Water Act, Superfund, and false statements counts of the indictment each carry a maximum possible term of incarceration of five years and a fine of $250,000, twice the gross gain to the defendants, or twice the gross loss to a victim. The obstruction of justice and wire fraud counts of the indictment each carry a maximum possible term of incarceration of 20 years and similar fines."