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Earlton woman admits to asbestos fraud scheme

July 24, 2018 06:20 pm Updated: July 24, 2018 06:24 pm

 

ALBANY — An Earlton woman who owns an Albany-based asbestos testing firm pleaded guilty Monday to scheming to defraud 19 customers and collecting about $40,000 for services her businesses wasn’t licensed to provide, officials said.

Ronda M. Dolan, 51, who owns Albany Environmental Consultants LLC, and project manager Brian K. McLaren, 54, of Troy, pleaded guilty Monday in Albany City Court to one count each of second-degree scheme to defraud, a class A misdemeanor, according to a statement from Attorney General Barbara Underwood.

Dolan, McLaren and the company are accused of illegally forging documents to defraud customers into believing the company was licensed by the state to test for asbestos and stealing another company’s licence number, according to the attorney general’s office.

Albany Environmental Consultants LLC, was also charged and pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of first-degree scheme to defraud, a class E felony, according to the attorney general’s office.

The defendants were arraigned in Albany City Court earlier this month and charged with one count of first-degree identity theft, a class D felony; four counts of third-degree grand larceny, a class D felony; two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, a class E felony, and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud, a class E felony, according to the attorney general’s office.

“We all know about the extreme risks posed by asbestos exposure,” Underwood said in a statement Tuesday. “It is unconscionable that a company would work without a New York license — undermining the public trust and risking the health of unsuspecting customers.”

Albany Environmental Consultants had a state asbestos remediation license until about August 2014. After the license expired, the defendants forged their letterhead with a license number from another company knowing they needed that license to perform asbestos-related jobs, according to the attorney general.

The defendants took on 19 jobs without a legitimate license through at least January 2015, according the attorney general.

During that time, the company is accused of stealing $40,000 from clients including a hospital, firehouse, church, bus station, manufacturing facility and individual homeowners throughout Albany, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Washington and Westchester counties, according to the attorney general. The clients had to have the asbestos work redone by a licensed company.

Dolan’s attorney, Dennis Schlenker, of Albany, declined to comment Tuesday on the legal proceedings. McLaren’s attorney, Matthew Toporowski of the Wagoner Firm in Albany, did not return calls for comment as of press time Tuesday.

Dolan, McLaren and the company’s convictions were the result of a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau, in partnership with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the state Department of Labor Asbestos Control Bureau and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.