Owner of Environmental Training Company Admits to Falsely Certifying Lead Abatement Course Completion
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Tyler C. Amon, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in New England, announced that STEPHEN CRAIG, 66, of Essex, pleaded guilty today in Hartford federal court to one count of making a false statement to the federal government.
According to court documents and statements made in court, STEPHEN CRAIG owned Boston Lead Company LLC (BLC), a Connecticut corporation that provided industrial hygiene and safety services. Doing business as Environmental Training and Assessment (ETA), BLC offered a variety of training courses to individuals working with lead paint and asbestos. STEPHEN CRAIG was the training manager and a primary instructor for those courses, and his son, Matthew Craig, provided hands-on instruction and assisted with course administration, including the grading of examinations.
ETA’s lead and asbestos training courses were subject to regulation under the training provider accreditation requirements of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). TSCA allowed states to obtain U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authorization to administer and enforce the standards, regulations and other requirements of the TSCA’s lead and asbestos programs, including the approval of training courses. The State of Connecticut received such authorization for all lead and asbestos programs except the lead program that covered renovations, repairs and painting. Individuals in Connecticut who perform lead abatement activities must be certified by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH). To obtain certification, an individual must successfully complete an approved 32-hour lead abatement worker initial training course. ETA applied for and received approval from CT DPH to offer a wide range of lead and asbestos training courses, including lead abatement worker initial and refresher courses.
In August 2011, ETA offered a lead abatement training course at its Middletown facility. STEPHEN CRAIG was the training manager and primary course instructor, and Matthew Craig provided the hands-on training and graded the exams. An undercover EPA agent attended the course under the fictitious identity, seeking a lead abatement worker initial course completion certificate. The agent skipped the first two days of the course, and was two hours late on the third day. Thereafter, the agent attended the course for a total of approximately 15 hours, including approximately three hours of hands-on training. STEPHEN CRAIG was aware that agent did not attend the full training course.
At the conclusion of the course, the agent paid STEPHEN CRAIG $525 in cash and was allowed to sit for the lead abatement worker examination, which was proctored and graded by Matthew Craig. The agent intentionally failed the examination. Although Matthew Craig knew that the agent had failed the examination, Matthew Craig completed questions that the agent had left blank and corrected a sufficient number of incorrectly answered questions to bring the examination grade to a passing grade of 80 percent.
On August 12, 2011, ETA issued a false Certificate of Completion to the agent that stated that the agent had successfully completed a 32-hour lead abatement worker initial training course and passed an examination in accordance with CT DPH standards.
“Asbestos and Lead removal training providers, like Stephen Craig’s businesses, are entrusted with keeping safe the supervisors, workers and the public that hire them,” stated Special Agent in Charge Amon. “Sham trainers will continue to be a focus for EPA enforcement since they pose too great a risk to the public health.”
STEPHEN CRAIG is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on November 2, 2017, at which time he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Matthew Craig previously pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement and, on March 14, 2013, was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.
This matter has been investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas P. Morabito.