Former fugitive in asbestos case sentenced to 87-month prison term
Nearly two and a half years after she fled the country to avoid going to prison, one of U.S. EPA's former fugitives will finally see the inside of a jail cell for her role in falsely certifying that hundreds of individuals had taken asbestos removal training.
A federal judge in Massachusetts slapped Albania Deleon with an 87-month prison sentence this afternoon and ordered her to pay $1.2 million to the Internal Revenue Service for tax losses and $369,000 to a Massachusetts insurance company that was bilked in her dirty scam.
Deleon was convicted in November 2008 on charges stemming from her work as president of Environmental Compliance Training in Massachusetts. Deleon used her position to sell false training certificates to individuals who had not taken asbestos removal training. She then placed those unqualified individuals in temporary jobs as certified asbestos abatement workers in public buildings throughout Massachusetts and New England.
EPA adds Nev. mining exec to list of environmental fugitives
After he failed to surrender to authorities following his indictment in a felony waste dumping scheme, U.S. EPA today added a Nevada mining executive to its list of wanted fugitives. An arrest warrant for Peter Kuhn, who served as president of French Gulch Nevada Mining Corp., was issued July 2. He is the second man in the last three months to be added to the fugitive list maintained by EPA's criminal enforcement program. The agency is now seeking 18 fugitives for environmental crimes. An indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in eastern California alleges that Kuhn and one of his mill superintendents illegally disposed of hazardous mining wastes from a California gold mine by dumping it in other mines, onto a hillside, in a nearby stream and on other land surrounding the mine. Some of the dumping sites in question included federal lands owned by the Bureau of Land Management.
Former fugitive sentenced to home detention for falsified emission reports
A former U.S. EPA fugitive will serve five months of home detention for falsifying vehicle emissions test reports, the agency announced today.
Between November 2007 and May 2009, Nevada resident Joseph DeMatteo fraudulently reported on vehicle inspection reports that vehicles had passed their emissions tests. In fact, he was "clean scanning" vehicles, a practice in which the identification of a car that can't pass the test is entered into a computer system while another car is actually tested.
DeMatteo -- along with nine other Nevada-certified emissions testers -- was indicted on Jan. 6, 2010, by a federal grand jury. But he failed to surrender to law enforcement authorities and became a fugitive until he was arrested in Las Vegas on June 8. He pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act on Oct. 14.
Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, heralded the sentence as an example of her office's success. The office has been criticized in recent months by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility for a high turnover of agents and an unwelcoming work environment.
One of agency's 'most wanted' captured in Dominican Republic
U.S. EPA's first woman fugitive was captured last weekend and faces decades in prison for falsely certifying that hundreds of individuals had taken asbestos removal training.
Law enforcement authorities arrested Albania Deleon, 41, in the Dominican Republic, to which she had fled after being convicted almost two years ago of a slew of charges stemming from her asbestos training school. She had eluded authorities for 19 months, having returned to her home country under the false identity of Elba Henriquez Peña.
Over the past two years, the EPA Fugitives list has served an important function for the criminal enforcement program beyond simply getting the word out about environmental fugitives. It has also become an important PR tool for the agency. E&E takes a closer look at EPA's armed law enforcement department as well as some of the environmental criminals currently on the lam.