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Willsboro man indicted for improper asbestos removal

WILLSBORO A Willsboro man was one of three people indicted last week for illegal activities relating to the removal of asbestos. Curtis Collins, 50, of Willsboro, was indicted last week along with John F. Wood, 57, of Plattsburgh, and Mark Desnoyers, 52, of Plattsburgh for numerous illegal activities related to the removal of asbestos in commercial and public buildings and private homes. Wood operated an asbestos abatement company, J & W Construction. Collins worked for Wood and later started his own company, Adirondack Asbestos. Desnoyers operated Adirondack Environmental Associates, Inc., an air monitoring company. They were charged with performing illegal asbestos removals throughout central and upstate New York including the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base, Citizens Bank in Plattsburgh, Strand Theatre in Plattsburgh, High Peaks Hospice in Port Henry, the Town of Mooers Public Library, homes in Elizabethtown, Plattsburgh, Champlain, Essex, Westport, Willsboro and Whallonsburg. Wood was charged with a conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act, Superfund Act, and mail fraud statute in connection with illegal asbestos removal activities; four substantive Clean Air Act violations; one count related to his failing to report the release of a hazardous substance into the environment, in violation of the Superfund Act; one count of obstruction of justice relating to false and fraudulent documents he provided to EPA Special Agents in an attempt to mislead them during their criminal investigation; and three counts of making false statements to EPA Special Agents. If convicted, Wood faces a maximum possible term of incarceration of 63 years and a fine of $2,500,000. In addition to the conspiracy count, Desnoyers was charged with one substantive Clean Air Act violation; and three counts of making false statements to EPA Special Agents. If convicted, Desnoyers faces a maximum possible term of incarceration of 25 years and a fine of $1,250,000. In addition to the conspiracy count, Collins was charged with one substantive Clean Air Act violations; and one count of making false statements to EPA Special Agents. If convicted, Collins faces a maximum possible term of incarceration of 10 years and a fine of $500,000. Asbestos has been determined to cause lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma, an invariably fatal disease. The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. This case was investigated by special agents of the Environmental Protection Agency who were assisted by the Clinton County Sheriff's Department and the New York State Department of Labor, Asbestos Control Bureau. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Craig A. Benedict. The allegations in the indictment are mere accusations and all persons are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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