LEAD INSPECTION CONTRACTOR PLEADS GUILTY
A local contractor who performed lead inspections pled guilty yesterday to a charge that he helped falsify a lead hazard assessment for an apartment in Detroit, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced.
McQuade was joined in the announcement by Randall K. Ashe, Special Agent in Charge, Office of Criminal Enforcement, Chicago, of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Breck Nowlin, Special Agent in Charge, Office of Inspector General, Housing and Urban Development.
Pleading guilty before United States District Judge Nancy Edmunds was MoReno Taylor, age 50, of Livonia.
The information presented to the court at the time of the plea showed that in 2007, Taylor's codefendant, Anthony Sharpe, was hired to test an apartment building at 2295 West Grand Boulevard, in Detroit, for the presence of lead hazards. The results of the test were to be provided to the owner of the apartment building, then to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the State of Michigan, all for the purpose of identifying and removing lead hazards. Sharpe asked Taylor to obtain "clean" samples for the report Sharpe was preparing. Taylor complied by obtaining paint test samples from a building other than 2295 West Grand Boulevard. As a result, the report prepared by Sharpe and submitted to the government agencies was false.
"Lead paint poses a serious health risk, particularly to children," U.S. Attorney McQuade stated. "We hope that this conviction will deter others from putting residents at risk."
A sentencing hearing was set by Judge Edmunds for Thursday, May 26, 2011, at 2 p.m. Taylor pled guilty under a statute that carries a five year penalty for making a false statement.
The case was investigated by special agents of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynn Helland.
Any Michigan resident who has concerns about possible lead hazards in his or her home should call the Michigan Department of Community Health Hotline at (800) 648-6942.