Father, Sons Sentenced to Prison for Asbestos-Related Crimes in NY

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

One of the sons, Paul Mancuso, was sentenced to 78 months in prison, three years of probation and a $20,000 fine. His brother Steven Mancuso was sentenced to 44 months in prison and three years of probation. Their father, Lester Mancuso, was sentenced to 36 months in prison and three years of probation. The three men were sentenced June 9 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 the sons 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. Their father pleaded guilty the day before the trial started. According to DOJ, another family member, Ronald Mancuso, cooperated with the investigation and prosecution and 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, he 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, according to DOJ, 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 EPA and OSHA 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 EPA special agents and prosecuted by DOJ’s Environmental Crimes Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York.

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