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Virginia Environmental Firm Owner Convicted for use of False Training Certificates for Asbestos and Lead Removal Work

Release Date: 03/31/2004
Contact Information:

Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 /

(03/31/04) Ethel Mae Holmes, owner of Holmes Environmental, Inc., in Virginia Beach, Va., was convicted on March 23 on 12 felony counts involving conspiracy, mail fraud and filing false claims with the U.S. government. The jury convicted Holmes of buying false asbestos and lead abatement training certificates from F&M Environmental Technologies Inc., a company who pled guilty to selling false certificates in 2001. The false certificates claimed Holmes’ employees had received asbestos and lead abatement training when they were not trained. The certificates were used to fraudulently obtain licenses for Holmes’ employees to perform asbestos and lead abatement work at the Pentagon, the Virginia Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, the Virginia Employment Commission, the United States Army at Ft. Eustis and other facilities. Proper training is required to do asbestos and lead abatement work to prevent human exposure to hazardous substances. Inhaling airborne asbestos fibers is a known cause of lung cancer, the lung disease known as “asbestosis,” and mesothelioma, cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. Exposure to sufficient quantities of lead can cause neurological, learning or behavioral disorders. The case was investigated by the Washington, D.C. Area Office of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Division, the Defense Criminal Investigative Services, the Defense Contract Audit Office and the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.