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New York Man Sentenced for Asbestos Crimes, Money Laundering

Release Date: 09/17/2003
Contact Information:

Teresa Libera 202-564-7873 /

(09/17/03) On Sept. 8, following appeals of previous sentencing, Joseph P. Thorn of Rensselaer, N.Y., former owner of A+ Environmental Services Inc., was sentenced to 14 years in prison and was ordered to forfeit $939,079 to the United States for illegal asbestos abatement and money laundering. Thorn was originally sentenced on Oct. 30, 2001, and this sentence came as a result of a sentence appeal action filed by both the defendant and the U.S. Government. Evidence presented at trial established that between 1990 and 1999, the defendant’s actions led to the illegal removal of asbestos at more than 1,100 facilities in central and upstate New York. The facilities included elementary schools, churches, nursing homes, hospitals, police barracks, a state office building and numerous other public buildings and private residences. Witnesses, including former employees, testified that Thorn directed “rip and strip” operations that caused “snow storms” of visible airborne asbestos. Some workers were knowingly sent into asbestos “hot zones” without being directed to wear respirators and others were sent in without being given sufficient replacement filters for respirators. Inhaling airborne asbestos is a known cause of lung cancer, a lung disease known as “asbestosis,” and mesothelioma which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. Thorn also conspired with accredited laboratories to falsify air monitoring at buildings where asbestos had been removed. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division and the New York State Office of Inspector General. Investigative assistance was provided by EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center and by the New York State Departments of Labor and Health. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Syracuse.