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Four Individuals Plead Guilty in New York State Asbestos Case

Release Date: 03/03/2004
Contact Information:

Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 /

(03/03/04) Tom Toporczyk, owner of Topor Contracting, a demolition and asbestos abatement business in Buffalo, N.Y.; William Denton, a manager of Topor; Tina Lopez, Topor office administrator; and Patricia Young, owner of Payco, an Akron, N.Y. firm that conducts pre-demolition asbestos surveys; all pled guilty on Feb. 25 to various state charges that arose from the demolition of two buildings in Buffalo, N.Y. Topor and Denton pled guilty to felony charges of Offering a False Instrument for Filing, Lopez pled guilty to misdemeanor forgery, and Young pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of Offering a False Instrument for Filing. The charges involved falsifying pre-demolition asbestos surveys, which are necessary to verify that asbestos has been removed from the work area. If demolition begins before asbestos-containing material is removed, workers and other people entering the work area could inhale asbestos fibers. Asbestos inhalation is a known cause of lung cancer, the lung disease “asbestosis,” and mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. In a related civil case, Toporczyk and Young were permanently barred from conducting asbestos abatement work in New York State and Toporczyk was also ordered to pay a $25,000 fine. The case was investigated by New York State Attorney General’s Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, the Buffalo Regional Office of the New York State Attorney General’s Office, the FBI and the New York Area Office of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted under the direction of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.