Lies about asbestos removal training lead to federal convictions

The negligent acts of some people continue to endanger the safety and lives of others. Take, for instance, the recent case involving two asbestos abatement employees who failed to properly train workers, exposing them and the public to asbestos exposure.

In May, a federal judge in Asheville sentenced Ana Sanchez of Memphis and Jose Carlos Pena-Lopez of Winston-Salem to probation for creating bogus asbestos training certificates.

Worked in North Carolina

The pair pleaded guilty in March to violations related to the Toxic Substances Control Act in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of North Carolina. Sanchez received two years of probation and a $1,500 fine, while Pena-Lopez received a year of probation and a $1,000 fine.

Working for Asheville-based NovaCor Consulting Group LLC, Sanchez served as an asbestos training coordinator based in the company’s Concord office. Pena-Lopez worked as an asbestos abatement supervisor and trainer in the state.

Failed to provide proper training for removal of asbestos

Prosecutors said that Sanchez and Pena-Lopez ignored environmental laws and jeopardized the health of others. The two failed to provide proper training to workers on how to safely manage asbestos and legally dispose of the material, which causes the rare and typically fatal cancer known as mesothelioma.

The charges stemmed from incidents that occurred in June 2018.

Under Sanchez’s orders, Pena-Lopez signed certificates declaring that certain workers completed asbestos refresher training. However, these workers had not done so. Workers must complete training to become licensed in asbestos removal.

Mesothelioma takes decades to surface

The actions of Sanchez and Pena-Lopez force a number of potential victims to worry and wonder. Mesothelioma and related illnesses typically do not surface until 20 to 50 years after a person’s initial exposure to asbestos. If you think you were exposed to asbestos, please see your doctor and consider contacting an attorney.