N.Y. men indicted for illegal asbestos removal

Michael P. Tremoglie Mar. 20, 2012, 10:42am

MALONE, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) -- The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York says two New York State residents have been indicted on 11 felony counts of illegal asbestos removal and disposal.

John Mills, 63, and Terrance Allen, 54, both of Malone, are charged in count 1 with a conspiracy to defraud the United States and to violate the Clean Air Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (also known as the Superfund Act).

The allegations relate to the defendants' directing improper asbestos removal and disposal activities, by untrained and unlicensed individuals, and the defendants' failure to report the illegal disposals as required by law. The violations occurred in buildings owned by Mills in Malone.

The indictments, announced Thursday, also are related "to actions taken by the defendants' to impede the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Health Safety and Health Administration in efforts to protect human health and the environment."

Both defendants failed to notify the EPA prior to undertaking an asbestos renovation project at 144 Elm Street, the feds say, in violation of the Clean Air Act.

The CAA was also violated because the work was done in without any personnel and/or supervisor trained in the safe and proper removal of this substance; without knowledge of handling the dry stripping and bagging of friable (easily released into the air) asbestos; and also illegally disposing of the substance at locations other than an approved landfill, it is alleged.

According to the announcement, both defendants are further charged with failing to report the release of a hazardous substance into the environment. Mills has been indicted for a Superfund reporting violation relating to asbestos placed in the trash from his home.

He is also charged with allegedly lying to EPA Special Agents about the incident and with obstruction of justice for retaliating against one of his former employees who reported the illegal asbestos activities to federal authorities. He fired the employee.

Allen is also charged with misleading investigators about the incident.

According to the DOJ, "the conspiracy and substantive counts of the Indictment each carry a maximum possible term of incarceration of five years and a fine of $250,000, twice the gross gain to each defendant, or twice the gross loss to any victim.

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