Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Jail For Asbestos Test Fraud

This is one of those stories that you need to remember when you hear Bush administration officials say that we don't really need more enforcement of our workplace safety laws, just more compliance assistance, fact sheets and web pages. Or when you hear (outgoing) Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Mike Enzi optimistically telling us that:
Cooperation, not confrontation is essential in making our workplaces safer. The notion that employers care little about worker safety, or are prepared to sacrifice worker health in the pursuit of profit is a dangerous myth.
Last week, Timothy Carroll was sentenced to 28 months in prison for falsifying asbestos air sampling results. Carrol was falsifying the reports to help Alex Salvagno and his father, Raul, who conducted illegal asbestos removal in up to 1,555 buildings throughout New York over a ten year period. They even paid homeless persons $4 an hour to remove the asbestos. The Salvagnos were found guilty of racketeering and conspiracy to violate environmental laws for rushing asbestos-abatement.
Carroll admitted he falsified air sample results and destroyed documents that revealed the illegal relationship between Analytical Laboratories of Albany, which Carroll owned, and AAR Contractors Inc. of Latham. Charges included mail fraud, federal Clean Air Act violations and filing false income tax returns.
In 2005, Alex Salvagno was sentenced to 25 years in prison and his father, Raul, to 19 years. The falsification of the asbestos tests conducted by Carroll was essential to the scam.
During the five-month trial, former employees testified the Salvagnos ordered them to crudely rip asbestos from buildings and falsify up to 75,000 laboratory samples. By working without even minimal safety precautions, the Salvagnos saved on labor costs. The scheme worked for so long because of the Salvagno-Carroll connection.

When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began investigating, agents discovered everything from asbestos fibers to chunks of asbestos left behind at job sites where AAR Contractors had performed work. In one case, investigators found asbestos dust on a box of lollipops given out at a bank, according to prosecutors.
Be careful out there. There are a lot of bad people around, and most of them probably aren't getting caught.

Related Stories
Job Wanted. Will Get Cancer For Food, June 22, 2005
Asbestos "Compensation" -- Return of the Living Dead, January 10, 2005
Father and Son Story, February 4, 2004