December 31, 2010
Environmental Crime Results In Disbarment
The New York Appellate Division for the Fourth Judicial Department has disbarred an attorney convicted of federal criminal offenses. The Department of Justice web page reports the details of the offense:
After a two-week trial on Oct. 28, 2009, a jury found brothers, Paul and Steven Mancuso guilty of conspiring to defraud the United States, violating the Clean Air Act’s asbestos-related regulations, illegally dumping asbestos in Poland, N.Y, and committing mail fraud. Lester Mancuso pleaded guilty the day before the trial started. Ronald Mancuso, who cooperated with the investigation and prosecution, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16, 2010.
Paul Mancuso was convicted of similar crimes in federal court in 2003 and in New York state court in 2004. As a consequence of the latter conviction, Paul Mancuso was expressly forbidden from affiliating himself with the asbestos-removal industry.
Steven Mancuso subsequently allowed his brother to operate asbestos businesses out of his law office and assisted Paul Mancuso in the operation of these asbestos companies. Specifically, Steven Mancuso and the other co-conspirators produced false and fraudulent documents and then submitted them to clients and regulating agencies to fraudulently conceal their non-compliance with federal and state regulations; submitted false partnership agreements, invoices and other records including, but not limited to, certified payroll records, to clients requesting payment for work that was not performed in compliance with law; and made false statements to clients, regulators, and law enforcement personnel to conceal their illegal activities and defraud the United States.
On some of these asbestos-projects, asbestos was removed in violation of EPA and OSHA regulations and was then illegally dumped on unwitting landowners’ properties in Poland, N.Y.
The court concluded that disbarment was the appropriate sanction for an attorney who uses a law license to commit a crime. (Mike Frisch)
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