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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Oregon

Friday, February 8, 2013

Vancouver Man Pleads Guilty to Lying About His Ability to Conduct Lead Testing

PORTLAND, Ore. - Martin Glaves Kuna, 66 of Vancouver, Washington, plead guilty today to one count of wire fraud before the Honorable Judge Michael H. Simon for falsely telling customers that he was certified to perform lead based paint inspections and testing in homes, where children resided, when in fact, he was not properly certified by state authorities to do so.

In response to medical studies on the health hazards presented to children by lead-based paint, Congress passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act (“Lead Hazard Act”). The Lead Hazard Act authorized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop regulations to ensure, among other things, that individuals engaged in lead based paint inspections and testing were properly trained and certified. Oregon’s rules for the certification of individuals and firms engaged in lead based paint inspections and testing prohibit any person or firm to perform lead based paint inspections and testing in target housing or child occupied facilities without first receiving appropriate certification.

The Information that defendant Kuna plead guilty to states that from May 2008 to September 2012, Kuna advertised his services to conduct lead based paint inspections and testing and indicated to individuals via the internet and in person that he was certified to do so. Defendant Kuna, however, had not received the required certification and training to inspect and test target housing or child occupied facilities for lead based paint despite his representations that he had. Over the course of the scheme, defendant Kuna conducted more than ten (10) such inspections. Assistant U. S. Attorney Michelle Holman Kerin told the court during Kuna’s guilty plea that in one instance where defendant Kuna performed lead based paint inspections and testing, children resided in the home and Kuna provided the home owner a false negative for the detection of lead. In January 2012, civil EPA investigators intervened in Kuna’s business activities and ordered him to stop lead based paint inspections and testing. Despite EPA’s order, Defendant Kuna continued to advertise and perform lead based paint inspections and testing through September 2012.

U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall, said, “Protecting children and families is one of my office’s top priorities. Laws designed to detect lead in housing help keep us safe from the well-documented, deleterious effects of lead exposure. Individuals who lie about their qualifications to perform these tasks endanger the health and welfare of anyone who falls prey to such fraud, but especially endanger the lives and health of children. When criminal conduct puts children and families at risk, we will see that justice is done.”

Tyler Amon, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Special Agent in Charge in Seattle, Washington, said “By offering a service he was not qualified or certified to deliver, defendant Kuna unnecessarily put children and families at risk using unscrupulous and unsafe business practices. Cases like this one, where people could be exposed to a potentially harmful contaminant, will be tirelessly investigated and tenaciously prosecuted.”

This investigation was conducted by Special Agent, Marc Callaghan at the EPA. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Holman Kerin.

Updated January 29, 2015