July 6, 2004
Guilty plea in HAL environmental compliance case
Richard K. Softye, pleaded guilty June 29, before U.S. District Court Judge Paul C. Huck to an information charging him with delivering reports representing as true the existence of a required environmental audit program at Holland America Line, when in fact he knew that no such program existed. Softye was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and perform 450 hours of community service.
Holland America Line is an operating line of Carnival Corporation. In a prior case before U.S. District Court Judge K. Michael Moore, Carnival Corporation pleaded guilty and was sentenced on April 17, 2002 to six counts of making false statements to the United States Coast Guard in Oil Record Books. On April 19, 2002, Judge Moore entered an order requiring Carnival Corporation and each of its operating lines, including Holland America Line, to comply with the terms of a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan (ECP) to be implemented throughout the corporation's world-wide operations.
In 2002, Softye was appointed to Vice President--Operating Line Compliance at Holland America Line and was the person authorized by the court-ordered ECP to institute the required audit program and oversee Holland America Line's compliance with ECP. By falsely representing that an audit program was in place at Holland America Line, Softye compromised the integrity of the ECP and the Court's ability to scrutinize Holland America Line's compliance, says an announcement issued by Marcos Daniel Jimenez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Ricky D. Langlois, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. EPA, Criminal Investigation Division, Jacksonville Area Office; Michael S. Clemens, Acting Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Miami Field Office, .
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Diane Patrick and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jodi Mazer.
Softye was named to head Holland America's newly formed Department of Environmental Compliance in Febuary 2003. A Holland America press release at that time described Softye as a "graduate of the New York Maritime College," and a "23-year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard."
"While serving in the Coast Guard," continued the release, "he served as Captain of the Port and Officer in Charge of Marine Inspections with a specialty in pollution response and marine safety. Softye joined Holland America in 1998 as a director in the fleet department.