Friday, September 12, 2008

Asbestos inspector lied

A home improvement contractor has been charged for allegedly filing false asbestos investigation reports for three building extension projects in Queens as well as a phony license application for his own certification as an asbestos investigator, it was announced.

Say Contractor Faked Asbestos Inspections

Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn identified the suspect as 32-year-old Satroghaun (a.k.a. Ravi) Singh of Jamaica, who was charged in a 40- count indictment obtained by the office of Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. The suspect was arrested by DOI agents last Thursday, Aug. 28.

It is alleged that Singh completed the false asbestos investigation reports between November 2007 and March of this year.

According to the commissioner, the investigation stemmed from an anonymous tip to DOI that a former certified asbestos investigator who had previously surrendered his certification to the Department of Environmental Protection was improperly inspecting construction sites in Queens.

The DOI probe revealed that the former inspector was out of the country when two inspections reportedly were conducted and that Singh, his former client, had allegedly used a scanned copy of the former investigator's seal. It is further alleged that he forged the for- mer investigator's signature onto three ACP-5 forms filed with the Department of Buildings.

These forms are designed to signify that a certified asbestos investigator examined a site, sampled and arranged for testing the material as appropriate and found no asbestos, thus clearing the way for the DOB to issue a construction permit for a location.

The investigation also found that Singh allegedly falsified his job experience in his own application as a prospective certified asbestos investigator, filed with the DEP in March 2008, by listing jobs in which he reportedly worked under the former investigator's direction, including two of the inspections he is charged with fabricating.

Singh was charged with six counts of second-degree forgery, seven counts each of first-degree falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing and 20 related misdemeanor counts. Felony counts are punishable by up to seven years in prison.


Anonymous said...

Gee....Tommy Huang and his asbestos abatement contractor for the RKO Keith's theater
(wasn't it Sergei S. or whomever?)
got away with just a slap on the wrist!

They used Latino day laborers equipped with cheap dust masks to do all the dirty work!

It was further reported by local residents that the public waste baskets were used for the disposal of some of the friable asbestos

Anonymous said...

Why the hell wasn't this guy Singh jailed the last time he got nailed for the same kind of s..t?

Anonymous said...

As a NYS DOL Asbestos Inspector and NYC DEP Asbestos Investigator for more than 18 years, I've seen these licensed "professionals" issue clean asbestos reports (ACP-5) over and over when that isn’t true at all. Whether it was due to laziness, the Investigators ineptness or just for the sake of making quick money, this occurs with more frequency than most people (and the DEP agents) know, or want to know. Unless someone knowledgeable with regard to asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) picks up on it during demolition or construction, the tradesmen, site workers and other building occupants are continually exposed to airborne asbestos, caused by the renovation activities. The problem is that there is ZERO on site review of these licensed professionals by the DEP or any other governing body. The only oversight for an Investigator is an audit, which can be conducted many months after the form had been issues and well after the project has commences and or is finished by the DEP enforcement agents. Hence no one can tell whether the Investigator did his testing correctly and/or there was actually an asbestos disturbance during the renovation. The DEP enforcement unit notifies the Investigator of the audit and the Investigator’s paperwork can always be added to and/or "supplemented" after the DEP audit, which is simply done to cover any deficiencies. The penalties are not stiff enough when an Investigator is caught, and the system of checking on an Investigator's sampling and testing protocol is very deficient. The "unscrupulous" Investigators is aware that they can get away with "doctoring" these forms for large sums of money, as the cost off an asbestos abatement project can be high. In my opinion, the DEP enforcement unit should place en emphasis on pulling ACP-5 reports at random, and make the site visit prior to the commencement of the demolition or renovation activities. This way, the DEP agent can be sure that ALL suspect asbestos-containing building materials have been properly collected and analyzed, hence assuring that the work will not disturb any asbestos materials. These unqualified or tainted Investigators make it difficult for the real Investigators to compete with their fees and usually end up giving the industry a "black-eye" such as in this case, not to mention the asbestos exposure that was caused to the unsuspecting trades-people and building occupants. Hopefully the DEP will review these comments and take some positive actions. The people, who were exposed to asbestos by that Investigators malfeasant action, should engage an attorney to go after the Investigator. Either way, that Investigator unnecessarily exposed regular people to a very toxic material intentionally, and merits the actual JAIL TIME !

Tradesmen Tom said...

These kind of rip off merchants need to be punished in the courts.