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York landlord sentenced for submitting forged lead paint disclosure forms
Release Date: 9/12/2003
Contact Information: Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567
Contact: Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567
PHILADELPHIA – Kurvin H. Grove of York, Pa. was sentenced today in federal court in Harrisburg, Pa., for the criminal obstruction of agency proceedings related to forging signatures on lead notification forms. U.S. District Judge William W. Caldwell sentenced Grove to 12-months probation, which includes 6-months home confinement, and ordered the defendant to pay a $7,600 fine.
On March 12, 2003, United States Attorney Thomas A. Marino charged Grove with submitting forged and fraudulent documents to EPA inspectors investigating whether he had notified tenants in his rental apartments and houses of lead-based paint hazards. Grove pled guilty to this charge on April 24.
EPA’s civil investigation of Grove’s properties began as a referral from the City of York’s Bureau of Health. They had mandated abatement of lead-based paint hazards in one of Grove’s properties following a tenant’s discovery that a child residing in the housing had an elevated blood lead level. This was the first time the EPA mid-Atlantic region has charged a Pennsylvania landlord with forging lead disclosure notification forms.
In March 2002, Grove provided EPA inspectors with numerous after-the-fact lead-based paint hazard notification forms, purportedly signed by residential tenants at the time they signed their leases. Grove later admitted forging some of the signatures on these forms.
Under the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, sellers and landlords of residential housing built before 1978 must disclose to purchasers and tenants the presence of known lead-based paint hazards (or lack of knowledge of hazards); provide a lead hazard information pamphlet; provide a standard warning statement in the lease on the dangers of lead-based paint; provide purchasers with a 10-day opportunity to conduct a lead-based paint inspection; and include disclosure and acknowledgment language in sales contracts and leases.
Lead poisoning poses a significant health risk for young children. Ingesting lead is hazardous to all humans, but children under six years of age are at the greatest risk of lead poisoning because their young bodies are still developing, and because at that age, their natural discovery tendencies of hand-to-mouth activity bring them into frequent contact with lead in paint chips, dust and soil. The ingestion of lead adversely affects virtually every system of the body, and it can impair a child’s central nervous system, kidneys and bone marrow. At high levels, it can cause coma, convulsions and even death. Lead poisoning is especially acute among low-income and minority children living in older housing.
For more information on EPA programs dealing with lead-based paint hazards, visit https://www.epa.gov/opptintr/lead/index.html.