Environmental Protection

Three New York Men to Serve Jail Time for Asbestos Scheme

Three men ─ a father and two sons ─ were sentenced to prison on June 9 in federal court in Syracuse, N.Y., for multiple violations of asbestos-related environmental laws, the Justice Department announced.

Paul Mancuso was sentenced to 78 months in prison, three years of probation and a $20,000 fine. Steven Mancuso was sentenced to 44 months in prison and three years of probation. Lester Mancuso, the father, was sentenced to 36 months in prison and three years of probation. The three men were sentenced by Frederick Scullin, U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of New York.

After a two-week trial on Oct. 28, 2009, a jury found brothers, Paul and Steven Mancuso guilty of conspiring to defraud the United States, violating the Clean Air Act’s asbestos-related regulations, illegally dumping asbestos in Poland, N.Y, and committing mail fraud. Lester Mancuso pleaded guilty the day before the trial started. Ronald Mancuso, who cooperated with the investigation and prosecution, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16.

Paul Mancuso was convicted of similar crimes in federal court in 2003 and in New York state court in 2004. As a consequence of the latter conviction, Paul Mancuso was expressly forbidden from affiliating himself with the asbestos-removal industry.

Steven Mancuso subsequently allowed his brother to operate asbestos businesses out of his law office and assisted Paul Mancuso in the operation of these asbestos companies. Specifically, Steven Mancuso and the other co-conspirators:

  • produced false and fraudulent documents and then submitted them to clients and regulating agencies to fraudulently conceal their non-compliance with federal and state regulations;
  • submitted false partnership agreements, invoices and other records including, but not limited to, certified payroll records, to clients requesting payment for work that was not performed in compliance with law; and
  • made false statements to clients, regulators, and law enforcement personnel to conceal their illegal activities and defraud the United States.

On some of these asbestos-projects, asbestos was removed in violation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations and was then illegally dumped on unwitting landowners’ properties in Poland, N.Y.

Asbestos has been determined to cause lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma, an invariably fatal disease. EPA has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.

This case was investigated by special agents of EPA. The case was prosecuted by the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York.

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