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Bugman fined, placed on probation again for illegally applying pesticides

Published: Tuesday, May 1 2012 4:43 p.m. MDT

Bugman Pest and Lawn President Raymond Wilson, left, leaves the Frank E. Moss Courthouse with his lawyer Dennis James after the sentencing for Coleman Nocks and Bugman Pest and Lawn in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 6, 2012.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A Bountiful pest-control company, already barred from doing business due to the deaths of two young Layton girls, admitted to illegally spreading poison at another home as part of a plea agreement.

Bugman Pest and Lawn Inc. president Raymond Wilson Sr. pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to one misdemeanor count of unlawful use of a registered pesticide. Prosecutors dropped four other counts as part of a plea agreement.

U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball fined the company $600 and placed it on 36 months' probation. Asked if he wanted to say anything to the court, Wilson Sr. replied, "We need to do better training."

Also Tuesday, Raymond Wilson Jr. entered into a 12-month diversion agreement with the court. Prosecutors will drop the charges against him if he meets certain conditions, including performing 100 hours of community service. He is not allowed to apply pesticides during that year.

Wilson Jr. and Bugman were originally charged with five misdemeanor counts of unlawful use of a registered pesticide.

The indictment alleged Wilson Jr. and the company applied Fumitoxin pellets at homes in Salt Lake City, Park City and Sandy in August 2009 in a manner inconsistent with its labeling, specifically that the rat poison was applied into a burrow system within 15 feet of an occupied building. 

The charges were separate from those filed against Bugman and former employee Coleman Nocks after the deaths of Rebecca Kay Toone, 4, and her 15-month-old sister Rachel Ana Toone in February 2010.

Nocks applied Fumitoxin pellets into a burrow system within 15 feet of the Toones' house in February 2010. The application was inconsistent with the product's labeling and exceeded the required dosage. The poison was aimed at voles, a species of small rodents.

In January, U.S. District Judge Dee Benson sentenced Nocks to 36 months' probation and 100 hours of community service for unlawful use of a registered pesticide.

The judge also barred Bugman from doing pest control for three years and fined the company $3,000. Tuesday's sentence will run concurrently with that order. The $600 fine is additional.

At the January hearing, Benson said he found Nocks genuinely remorseful, but he did not feel the same about Wilson Sr. He said if had to choose whether to put Nocks or Wilson Sr. in jail, he would choose Wilson Sr. Despite Wilson Sr.'s statements to the contrary, Benson said the company was complicit in Nocks' actions.

Nathan and Brenda Toone filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Bugman and Nocks. It was settled out of court last November.

E-mail: romboy@desnews.com, Twitter: dennisromboy

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