Colorado Man Pretends to be Asbestos Inspector, Sent to Jail

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has announced that a 46-year-old man has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to “contributing to the release of asbestos into the air by misleading state officials and forging lab results.”

Following his guilty plea to charges of causing or contributing to a hazardous substance incident, Michael Merit was sentenced on December 20, 2010 to 40 days in prison and ordered to pay $5,000 into the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Crimes Investigation Fund. The charges stemmed from an indictment handed down last April that states Merit falsely claimed to be an asbestos inspector between November 1, 2007 and January 30, 2008 in order to gain employment with a demolition company and before it began work on a mobile home park in Elizabeth, CO.

Once employed with the construction company as an asbestos inspector, Merit was tasked with determining how much asbestos was present in the park but proceeded to perform the wrong tests on the site and then forge the results. Those results were eventually used by the construction company to help them obtain a demolition permit for the site from the state Department of Public Health.

Construction projects regularly used asbestos products for much of the 20th century as a fire retardant, and still use the mineral now as long as it is properly encased so it will not easily break and release fibers into the air. With all of this asbestos present in many older buildings, demolition projects can only proceed after a variety of tests and abatement projects have been undertaken to make sure any products that could release dangerous fibers into the air are removed.

For those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer and think their exposure to asbestos may be linked to the improper removal of asbestos from a construction project, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney to learn more about your rights, and to see if pursuing a mesothelioma settlement is in your best interest.