A.G. UNDERWOOD ANNOUNCES GUILTY PLEAS OF UNLICENSED ASBESTOS TESTING COMPANY AND MANAGERS FOR DEFRAUDING CUSTOMERS THROUGHOUT THE CAPITAL REGION
Company Stole $40,000 from 19 Victims – Including from a Hospital, Firehouse, Church, Bus Station, Manufacturing Facility, and Individual Homeowners
CAPITAL REGION — Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood today announced the guilty pleas of Albany Environmental Consultants, LLC (“AEC”), headquartered in Albany, NY; its owner Ronda M. Dolan, 51, of Earlton, NY; and its Project Manager Brian K. McLaren, 54 of Troy, NY for illegally using the identity of a licensed asbestos testing company to defraud customers into believing AEC was licensed by New York State to test for asbestos. In reality, AEC’s license had expired in 2014 – yet 19 unsuspecting victims paid almost $40,000 to the defendants for asbestos-handling services, only to have the work redone by a properly licensed company.
Earlier this month, the defendants were arraigned in Albany City Court before Honorable Gary F. Stiglmeier on a felony complaint charging each with one count of Identity Theft in the First Degree (a class “D” felony), four counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a class “D” felony), two counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (a class “E” felony), and one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (a class “E” felony).
According to statements by prosecutors, AEC had a New York State asbestos remediation license until approximately August 2014. After the license expired, and knowing that they could not obtain asbestos-related jobs without a license, the defendants forged their letterhead by using the license number of a legitimately licensed company. The defendants operated this unlicensed company through at least January 2015 and took on at least 19 jobs – including at personal residences, a manufacturing facility, a firehouse, a church, a bus station, and a hospital – throughout Albany, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Washington, and Westchester Counties. As a result, unsuspecting customers were later required to have all of the defendants’ asbestos work redone by a licensed asbestos company.
On July 19, 2018, Albany Environmental Consultants, LLC entered a guilty plea before Honorable Peter A. Lynch in Albany County Court to one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (a class “E” felony). On July 23, 2018, owner Ronda Dolan and project manager Brian McLaren both pleaded guilty before Honorable Stiglmeier in Albany City Court to one count each of Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree (a class “A” misdemeanor).
All three defendants admitted to having stolen approximately $40,000 and signed confessions of judgment in favor of their 19 victims. These judgments against the defendants state the amount of money stolen from each victim, admit that the money was taken as part of a scheme to defraud, and allow the victims to obtain reparations in the future.
The convictions were the result of a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau, in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Department of Labor – Asbestos Control Bureau, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.