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Former New York Asbestos Contracting Firm and Owners Convictedof Organized Crime and Other Charges

Release Date: 04/07/2004
Contact Information:

Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 /

(04/07/04) AAR Contractor, Inc., a former asbestos abatement firm located in Latham, N.Y. and two former AAR owners, Alexander Salvagno of Loundonville, N.Y., and Raul Salvagno of Ormand Beach, Fla., were convicted on March 29 of a ten-year conspiracy (1990-1999) to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO), the Clean Air Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act. In addition, the jury found that Alexander Salvagno committed multiple acts of obstruction of justice, money laundering, mail fraud and bid rigging under the RICO charge and also convicted him of three counts of tax fraud. AAR was one of the largest asbestos abatement companies in New York State. The Salvagnos used Analytical Laboratories of Albany, Inc. (ALA) to create fraudulent laboratory analyses indicating that buildings remediated by AAR were free of harmful levels of asbestos. In reality, AAR and the Salvagnos had used illegal “rip and run” techniques to remove the asbestos, and released “snow storms” of asbestos in the process. The workers employed by AAR were not provided with proper protective equipment. In addition, dangerous levels of residual asbestos contamination were found by investigators at locations ALA determined were safe. Collusion between AAR and ALA occurred at more than 1,555 New York facilities and involved falsification of up to 75,000 laboratory samples. Improperly removing asbestos and falsely certifying a building to be free of asbestos contamination can lead to workers and other people inhaling asbestos fibers, which can cause lung cancer, the lung disease “asbestosis,” and mesothelioma, cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. The case was investigated by the New York Area Office of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the New York State Office of Inspector General. Investigative assistance was provided by the New York State Department of Labor, the New York State Department of Health and EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Syracuse.