The Environmental Protection Agency has managed to capture the first woman named to their two-year-old wanted fugitive’s list. Albania Deleon was finally apprehended down in the Dominican Republic, two years after her conviction in Massachusetts for operating a fraudulent asbestos removal certification school.
Asbestos removal has been a big industry since the public learned of asbestos exposure’s health risks like mesothelioma and other cancers. Ms. Deleon began her escape from authorities in March 2009, only two days before she was to be sentenced in Massachusetts. Her recent capture was on October 30, 2010 when EPA agents pulled over her car in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Around 2001, Ms. Deleon began running Environmental Compliance Training, a certified-asbestos abatement training school headquartered in Methuen, MA that soon became Massachusetts’ largest asbestos certification program. Unfortunately, Ms. Deleon was issuing asbestos certifications to people who had not completed the appropriate coursework.
Authorities estimate that between 65 to 80 percent of the hundreds of certificates issued were fraudulent. Many of these phony certificates were given to illegal immigrants who couldn’t take off the necessary four days to obtain the credentials. Ever the opportunist, Ms. Deleon then found work for these fake graduates through her own Methuen Staffing Agency, a temporary staffing company specializing in asbestos abatement. Workers were paid under the table, allowing her to avoid taxes and worker’s compensation insurance. After her extradition to the United States, Ms. Deleon is facing jail time of 5 to 20 years on 28 counts.
Her 2008 conviction includes charges of fraud, hiring illegal immigrants, making false statements and procuring false payroll tax returns.
Have you or a loved one been exposed to asbestos or diagnosed with mesothelioma? A mesothelioma attorney may be able to help.