Property Owner And Manager Charged With Failing To Properly Notify Tenants About Lead Hazards
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Angel Elliot Dalfin, 57, of Baltimore, Maryland, and Paul Richard Heil, 51, of Buffalo, New York, were charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to make false documents. The charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“Lead-based paint can create major environmental health risks, and the actions taken by the defendants as alleged in the complaint created unnecessary risk to unsuspecting renters and purchasers,” said U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “My office will not allow dangerous disregard for the rule of law to go unchecked, and we will continue to work with our partners to protect the health of our community.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who is handling the case, stated that in February 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received a referral from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Lead Programs Enforcement Division, Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, involving multiple properties owned and/or managed by the defendants. Those properties were previously cited by the Erie County Health Department with numerous violations for lead paint hazards. The health department had also received several reports of children with elevated blood lead levels residing at the properties.
According to the complaint, between 2010 and 2018, approximately 50-60% of tenants living in properties owned/operated by Dalfin and Heil did not receive lead disclosure notices required by federal law. The approximately 40-50% of tenants who did receive lead disclosure notices were tenants receiving Section 8 financial housing assistance. Those tenants received disclosures under the direction of the public housing agencies that work directly with low-income tenants and their landlords to administer the Section 8 program. However, even when tenants were provided lead disclosure forms, the disclosures repeatedly contained false statements concealing hazardous conditions and the existence of reports pertaining to lead paint hazards in the properties.
In addition to providing false lead disclosures to renters, the defendants also provided false lead disclosure statements to buyers of numerous properties they owned/operated. Many of those properties had an extensive history of lead paint violations documented by the health department.
The complaint further states that the properties owned/operated by the Dalfin and Heil have a long-documented history of lead-based paint violations and reports of children with elevated blood lead levels. Between 2013 and 2020, at least 54 of the properties identified as being owned or managed by the defendants have been cited for lead hazards or conditions conducive to lead poisoning by the health department. For example, between 2013 and 2019, at least 23 children had an elevated blood lead level while residing at these properties, and seven of those properties had multiple child elevated blood lead level referrals. The defendants received notification from the health department of the lead-based paint violations. In correspondence with potential investors, the defendants misrepresented that the health department violations had been addressed. Dalfin And Heil were well aware of potential lead-based paint hazards but continued to sell properties with false lead disclosures.
The complaint is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Tyler Amon and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent-In-Charge Christina D. Scaringi. Additional assistance was provided by the New York State Attorney General’s Office.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
# # # #