In just three and a half hours a jury convicted a Bostonian of falsifying asbestos removal training certificates and sending hundreds of illegal immigrants to remove asbestos without the required training. Environmental Compliance Training, the largest asbestos removal certification school in Massachusetts, found its owner, Albania Deleon convicted of 28 federal counts. These charges included five of lying to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), five counts of mail fraud, and 16 counts of obtaining false payroll tax returns. She was found guilty of all counts and faces a possible five years per count. The most egregious of Deleon’s crimes was sending immigrants to work on removing asbestos by giving them certificates for asbestos removal training that they never received. The hundreds of migrant workers certified by Deleon between 2001 and 2006 had their health put at a serious risk by being sent into a dangerous job situation without knowing the proper procedures to follow.
Many of these illegally certified workers were illegal immigrants who feared that they would lose too much money by taking time off of work to take the four-day training course offered by Environmental Compliance Training. The majority of these workers sought employment through the temporary staffing agency Methuen Staffing, also owned by Deleon. This agency, like the school, specialized in asbestos removal and cleanup as well as demolition projects in several New England states including: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire. Exposure to asbestos fibers is one of the most familiar of work place dangers. By inhaling asbestos, a worker has an increased risk of developing lung cancer, mesothelioma, or a scarring of the lungs known as asbestosis. All of these cause serious impairments in ones life, and, in the cases of lung cancers and mesothelioma, these illnesses are often fatal. Albania Deleon will be sentenced on February 17, 2009, by US District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton.