Indian-American man from New York and his company sentenced to one year probation for Clean Air Act Violations

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An Indian-American man in Grand Island, N.Y., who was convicted of accessory after the fact to a false statement under the Clean Air Act, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, according to a March 23 announcement from the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York.

U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced that Raj Chopra, 54, was sentenced to one year probation, and his company, Comprehensive Employee Management, (CEM), an environmental consulting company in Grand Island, was also convicted of making a false statement under the Clean Air Act. The company was sentenced to one year probation plus ordered to pay a $25,000 fine.

According to federal regulations, all owners or operators of an asbestos abatement project regulated under the Clean Air Act, must maintain a waste shipment manifest to include the name of the owner/operator; the name of the generator; and the date the asbestos was transported. The information enables the Environmental Protection Agency, which enforces the Clean Air Act and associated regulations, to investigate suspected violations of the Clean Air Act properly and in a timely manner, a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who handled the case, said that CEM provided consulting services to co-defendant Sean Doctor and his asbestos abatement company, S.D. Specialty Services, LLC.  From December 2009 to January 2010, employees of S.D. Specialty performed asbestos abatement work at the Roosevelt Park Shelter in Buffalo, which was subject to regulations of the Clean Air Act. During the project, S.D. Specialty employees removed asbestos from the Roosevelt Park Shelter and transported the material to a waste container at CEM on Grand Island.

According to investigators, on March 11, 2010, Doctor and CEM filled out an asbestos waste manifest which falsely indicated that asbestos had been transported to CEM from the Roosevelt Park Shelter on that date.  “In truth and in fact, such asbestos had been transported to, and stored at, the Grand Island location prior to March 11, 2010,” the press release notes.

In addition, on April 28, 2011, an inspection of the Roosevelt Park Shelter revealed asbestos was improperly left behind by employees of S.D. Specialty, the press release said. Sean Doctor was previously convicted and sentenced to one year probation and fined $2,000.