By Marla Diamond

OCEANSIDE, N.Y. (WCBS 880/AP) – Prosecutors on Long Island have charged a landscaper with mixing hazardous materials into the garden mulch he was selling to customers.

Victor Liotta was facing arraignment Monday on several environmental charges, as well as scheming to defraud. He could face 4 years in jail if convicted.

Nassau County prosecutors say Liotta Brothers Recycling Corp. sold wood chips being marketed as “100 percent shredded hardwood.” But undercover officers who bought the mulch found it included unauthorized construction waste.

“Which means they were either stained or treated in such a way that they could have contaminated the soil or the water supply,” said Kathleen Rice, Nassau County District Attorney.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond gets details from Nassau County authorities

Prosecutors claim some of the wood was stained, chemically treated, or glued. They say other debris included plastic chips, floor tiles, rags, sheet metal and rubber.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports the mulch was marketed for use in gardens and children’s playgrounds. It was sold in the spring and summer of 2010 at Island Hopper Landscaping Supplies in Island Park.

Liotta’s attorney did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.


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