The owner of a Santa-Barbara-based environmental consulting firm pleaded guilty to overbilling the State Water Resources Control Board, and will have to repay $1.6 million to the Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund.
Kurt Hayden, 54, took a plea agreement to felony charges, and was sentenced to pay back the funds he overbilled, according to the agreement.
He also will serve 180 days in Santa Barbara County Jail, serve three years of probation, and surrender his professional licenses, so he will not continue doing environmental remediation work.
Charges against his wife, Julie Hayden, were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
The water board’s cleanup fund comes from a 2-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax that reimburses for cleanups at underground petroleum storage tank facilities.
The Haydens, owners of Hayden Environmental, Inc., were accused of overbilling the state for time, vehicles and equipment when they applied for reimbursements.
They were both charged with conspiracy to commit a crime and felony grand theft by the Office of the Attorney General after a 2008 audit of three sites they billed.
The state had also filed a civil complaint against the pair for damages, but it was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.