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November 7, 2010

Federal officials captured Fugitive Albania Deleon, who endangered the public by falsifying asbestos certification documents in Massachusetts, in the Dominican Republic after she was on the run for nineteen months since her sentencing hearing in 2008.

“Albania Deleon put communities at risk by issuing fraudulent asbestos-removal training certificates to hundreds of untrained workers,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This is yet another example of great teamwork and dedication of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, U.S. Marshals Service and our own special agents who protect the American people from environmental crimes.”

According to the New York Times, Deleon assumed a false identity in the Dominican Republic and at the time of capture carried false identification and disguised her appearance by dying her hair blond.

From 2001 to 2006, Deleon owned the state’s largest asbestos training school, Environmental Compliance Training (ECT), and sold training certificates to hundreds of people, including illegal immigrants, who did not actually take the mandatory training course. Those people then filed the fraudulent certificates with the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety for authorization to work in the asbestos removal industry. Deleon then employed them through Methuen Staffing, her temporary employment agency specializing in asbestos removal, and sent these untrained workers out to perform asbestos removal work while paying them “under the table.”

On Nov. 20, 2008, Deleon, 40, was convicted in federal court on one count of conspiracy to make false statements, to encourage illegal aliens to reside in the United States and to hire illegal aliens; five counts of making false statements within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; 16 counts of procuring false payroll tax returns; and five counts of mail fraud.

After her flight, Deleon became the first woman named to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) fugitive list.

Deleon faces an extradition hearing in the Dominican Republic. Upon her return to the United States, she will face up to five years imprisonment on each count, except for the mail fraud counts, which carry 20-year maximum sentences.

“After having placed hundreds of people at risk of significant health problems purely for greed, DeLeon will now receive the punishment for her crimes,” said Special Agent in Charge of the EPA, Michael Hubbard in a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.

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