A former professional football player and his business partner are facing multiple federal charges for improperly transporting and storing asbestos waste in violation of the federal Clean Air Act. If the men are convicted on all of the offenses with which they are charged, they could be sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.
The defendants are former Buffalo Bills fullback Sean Doctor and his business partner, Raj Chopra, who operate two companies together. The men are accused of illegally and improperly using a 40-yard closed-box container to transport and store asbestos waste while their companies managed three asbestos abatement projects in New York. Those projects included an office building, a park shelter and several vacant houses in a residential neighborhood.
According to court documents, this practice went on for nearly two years, potentially putting hundreds of nearby residents and workers at risk for asbestos exposure and its deadly results.
In addition, the men are accused of defrauding their insurance company by claiming that their asbestos removal workers were clerical employees in order to get a lower insurance premium. In doing so, court documents allege, the men defrauded the insurer out of nearly $200,000.
In sum, the men are charged with 16 federal counts, including violations of the Clean Air Act, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud.
This case shows that, even though there exist protections such as the Clean Air Act which aim to prevent hazardous treatment of asbestos, people still refuse to take asbestos seriously and continue to put others at risk of dangerous exposure. Hopefully, this case serves as a lesson to others who would consider conducting a similar operation.
Source: WIVB, “Pair accused of violating Clean Air Act,” Sept. 27, 2012
At our Illinois law firm, we deal with cases of potential asbestos exposure like those discussed above. To learn more, please see the “Identifying When and Where You Were Exposed” page on our website.