St. Petersburg Landlord Charged With EPA Violations And Falsifying Records
Tampa, FL – Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the return of a six-count superseding indictment charging Michael Moshe Shimshoni (56, Tierra Verde) with four counts of failing to provide approved Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) lead paint warning notices and brochures to his tenants, and two counts of alteration or falsification of records in a federal investigation. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of one year in federal prison on each of the failures to provide warning notice counts, and twenty years’ imprisonment for each of the falsification of records counts.
According to the indictment, Shimshoni owned, managed, and offered commercial and residential properties for lease in St. Petersburg through Pinellas Properties, Inc., and Affordable Realty and Property Management, Inc., among other entities. The superseding indictment alleges that Shimshoni knowingly and willfully failed to provide the prescribed lead paint hazard warning notices and federally approved lead paint hazard brochures to lessees of his properties. Federal law and regulations require that landlords must provide a prospective tenant of certain “target housing” built prior to 1978, before a tenant is obligated under any lease, with various warning notices including a lead warning statement, and a statement by the tenant affirming the receipt of an EPA approved lead hazard information pamphlet. The purpose of the pamphlet is to alert tenants to the dangers of lead paint and inform them about measures to reduce the risk of lead-based hazards.
The superseding indictment further alleges that Shimshoni altered, falsified, and made false entries in documents and records with the intent to impede, obstruct, and influence the Environmental Protection Agency’s investigation and administration of the Lead Hazard Reduction Act, the Toxic Substance Control Act, and related provisions by producing backdated "Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards" forms.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the EPA Criminal Investigations Division. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew J. Mueller.