CONTRACTOR PLEADS GUILTY TO
FALSIFYING LEAD INSPECTION REPORTS
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Michael E. Hubbard, Special Agent in Charge of the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division, today announced that JOHN C. SCHEERER, 41, of Thomaston, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty yesterday before United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to one count of making a false statement in connection with home improvement projects funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
According to court documents and statements made in court, SCHEERER had been hired to perform home improvement and lead abatement work on several residential properties throughout Connecticut. His work was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as part of a revitalization program that provides federal funds to various cities and towns in the state of Connecticut to be used to assist homeowners in repairing and updating residential homes. Upon completing his work at each property, SCHEERER was required to hire an independent lead inspector to test for lead hazards and to obtain and submit a final lead clearance report stating that the testing was in compliance with HUD standards.
From March 2006 to March 2010, SCHEERER falsified and fraudulently submitted approximately 30 lead abatement clearance reports for properties where he performed work funded by HUD. Instead of hiring an independent lead inspector to perform final lead clearance testing upon completion of his work, SCHEERER fraudulently prepared and submitted false reports of compliance using the letterhead of a third-party lead inspection company. The reports falsely stated that the lead inspection company had conducted a post lead abatement visual assessment and lead dust wipe sampling at each property, that the visual assessment and dust wipe samples were conducted in accordance with HUD regulations, that the visual assessment confirmed that no residual dust and/or paint chips were present at the completion of the work, and that the dust wipe analysis met HUD clearance standards. SCHEERER fraudulently added a signature purporting to be that of the president of the lead inspection company at the end of each report.
As a result of SCHEERER’s fraud, the affected cities and towns had to expend additional funds to test the homes to ensure they were clear of lead hazards. The testing revealed that no significant lead hazards remained.
Judge Arterton has scheduled sentencing for August 2, 2012, at which time SCHEERER faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.
This case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Neeraj Patel and EPA Regional Criminal Enforcement Counsel Peter Kenyon.
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