Local businessmen sentenced for fraud

UTICA - Business owners from Plattsburgh and Willsboro have received sentencing for their involvement in a scheme to commit fraud.

John F. Wood, 59, Plattsburgh, and Curtis E. Collins, 51, Willsboro, were sentenced in U.S. District Court by the Hon. David N. Hurd Feb. 11. Wood will serve four years in jail and pay $854,166.06 in restitution to victims. He was further placed on supervised release for three years following his release from jail. Collins was sentenced to two years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He was ordered to pay $114, 902.89 in restitution.

According to a Department of Justice report, Wood began operating an asbestos abatement company known as J & W Construction Inc. after being released from prison in 2006. Wood directed his employees to perform "rip and run" asbestos removals that, rather than removing all asbestos, dispersed and left substantial quantities behind, significantly contaminating numerous businesses and homes. Some of the asbestos were found to have been buried on a farm in Willsboro which required the expenditure of Environmental Protection Agency Superfund money for proper clean up.

They were found to have performed illegal asbestos removal throughout central and upstate New York, including the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base, Citizens Bank, and Strand Theatre in Plattsburgh; High Peaks Hospice in Port Henry; Town of Mooers Public Library; and homes in Elizabethtown, Plattsburgh, Champlain, Essex, Westport, Willsboro and Whallonsburg.

Wood utilized the services of Mark R. Desnoyers, 53, a licensed air monitor and owner of Adirondack Environmental Associates in Plattsburgh, to deceive clients into believing all asbestos had been removed and their businesses and homes were safe to reoccupy. Desnoyers was found to have falsified air samples so laboratory results appeared to prove all asbestos had been removed from homes and businesses when they actually remained seriously contaminated.

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