EPA Gets Conviction on Asbestos Training Scam

[tweetmeme]“Today, justice was served, and Albania Deleon has finally faced the consequences of her crimes…”

EPA has announced that the former owner of the country’s largest asbestos abatement training school was sentenced to prison, after having fled the United States after her trial in November 2008. U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton sentenced Albania Deleon, 41, formerly of Andover, Mass., to 87 months in prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay more than $1.2 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and $369,015 to AIM Mutual Insurance Company.

According to the EPA, Deleon who owned and operated Environmental Compliance Training (ECT), a certified asbestos training school located in Methuen, MA, offered training courses on a weekly basis at her Methuen offices, however, many of the recipients of the certificates never took the required course.

Instead, with Deleon’s knowledge and approval, ECT’s office employees issued certificates of course completion to thousands of individuals who did not take the course. These individuals filed the certificates with the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety in order to be authorized to work in the asbestos removal industry.

According to Court documents many of the recipients were illegal aliens who wished to skip the 4-daylong course so that they would not forego a week’s pay.  Of course as already noted by others the losers in this scam were the workers who were not knowledgeable of the hazards of asbestos exposure and didn’t know how to protect themselves from unnecessary exposure in the work place.  In return for not losing one weeks pay they may face an even more uncertain future…one filled with asbestos related illnesses.  Their quality of life may be significantly altered and so to their family’s!

Some have contended that many of the untrained workers were hired by another firm Deleon owned and assigned to perform asbestos abatement and demolition, which makes this scam even worse for the customers and clients of this scam.  Their project may not have been handled within the rules and laws set out to protect them and the public from the dangers of asbestos removal projects.

From 2001 to 2006 ECT issued training certificates to over 2,000 untrained individuals.  According to the EPA Press Release, “Today’s sentence marks the final chapter in bringing Albania Deleon to justice,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Committing environmental crimes to make a profit that put workers and our communities at risk carry serious consequences.”

Deleon is the fifth environmental criminal captured since the EPA fugitive website was launched in December 2008.

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