Ten Years in Prison for Man Who Illegally Removed Asbestos

The head of a fire-protection company has been sentenced to ten years in prison after he illegally removed, handled, and disposed of asbestos products he had been tasked with removing from a Kankakee, IL building in August 2009.

Fifty-nine-year-old Duane “Butch” O’Malley was hired through is company, Origin Fire Protection, to remove products containing asbestos from pipes in a five-story building. Despite the fact that neither O’Malley nor his employees were properly trained to perform asbestos removal work, the company took the job for an amount of money that was far less than a company would charge if they were properly trained to carry out such services.

During the illegal asbestos removal that was done by O’Malley, various provisions of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations were violated. The EPA was not properly notified that the asbestos removal was taking place, and no attempt was made to have trained on-site EPA representatives present. Furthermore, the asbestos insulation was not adequately wetted while it was being removed, and vehicles that were used to remove asbestos materials were not properly marked. The asbestos insulation from the pipes were also improperly stored when they were placed in more than 100 large, unlabeled plastic garbage bags that were eventually dumped in an open field in a nearby. 

“To increase his profits, a jury found that O’Malley knowingly disregarded federal environmental laws that require asbestos-containing materials be safely removed and properly disposed,” said U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis, of the Central District of Illinois. “This sentence is a consequence of the defendant’s flagrant disregard for his workers, the public, and the environment in exposing them to dangerous airborne asbestos fibers.”

O’Malley was initially convicted of his illegal asbestos removal crimes last September.  Following his sentencing, he will serve 10 years in prison and must pay $47,086 in restitution to the EPA related as well as a $15,000 fine.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and now suffers from mesothelioma, there are legal options at your disposal. Call Sokolove Law today to learn more about pursuing a mesothelioma claim.