Illegal asbestos remover captured on the run
A woman who illegally certified people as qualified asbestos removers has been arrested after 19 months on the run.
Albania Deleon, 40, fled before a federal sentencing hearing brought by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Deleon, who had assumed a false identity, was arrested following a vehicle stop in the Dominican Republic last week.
Between 2001 and 2006 Deleon owned Environmental Compliance Training (ECT), a certified asbestos training school located in Methuen, Massachusetts.
She offered weekly training sessions however many of the people on the courses never did the required work.
Instead, with Deleon's approval, ECT's employees issued certificates of course completion to hundreds of individuals who did not take the course.
These individuals filed the certificates with the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety to be authorized to work in the asbestos removal industry.
In a further twist many of the people who took the course were illegal immigrants who had to skip the four-day course so they would not miss out on pay.
"Deleon put communities at risk by issuing fraudulent asbestos-removal training certificates to hundreds of untrained workers," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
"This is yet another example of great teamwork and dedication of the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts, US Marshals Service and our own special agents who protect the American people from environmental crimes.
On November 20, 2008, Deleon was convicted in federal court after nearly a three week trial on one count of conspiracy to make false statements.
Deleon faces an extradition hearing in the Dominican Republic and on her return to the United States, she will face up to five years imprisonment on each count, except for the mail fraud counts, which carry 20-year maximum sentence.