Upstate New York Contractor Gets 6.5 Years for lllegal Asbestos Removal

06/25/2010 // Chicago, IL, USA // Cooney & Conway // Mesothelioma lawyers: Cooney & Conway

(Mesothelioma News) – An upstate New York contractor was sentenced on June 9 to six and a half years in federal prison for his role in an illegal asbestos removal operation.

It was the fourth time Paul Mancuso, 45, of Utica had faced federal charges related to asbestos abatement, and prosecutors said he needed to be dealt with firmly once and for all.

“Clearly, after four times, enough is enough,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Benedict after the proceeding. “There no longer is any reasonable basis to think he deserves leniency.”

Mancuso’s father, Lester, 71, was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the illegal asbestos work. A brother, Steven, 39, drew three and a half years for utilizing his skills as a lawyer to hide Paul Mancuso’s involvement, which consisted of unlawful asbestos removal and other violations across New York’s Mohawk Valley.

In addition to the prison sentence, a $20,000 fine was levied against Paul Mancuso for violating federal asbestos regulations by permitting the material to be disposed of in a field and flushed down a drain at a Utica school.

Asbestos has long been linked to deadly diseases including lung cancer and mesothelioma, a nearly always fatal cancer of the protective lining covering many of the body’s organs. Improper asbestos disposal—like what the Mancuso family did—increases the risk, because disposal breaks up asbestos and makes some airborne, where it’s most hazardous. Asbestos fibers can then be easily inhaled, with dire consequences.

The potential for asbestos exposure in a school setting is particularly troubling, because diseases like mesothelioma can take decades to develop. So a child exposed to asbestos today could be diagnosed with the deadly disease 30 or even 40 years from now, when he or she is in the prime of life.

Over the years, mesothelioma lawyers have been successful in obtaining large jury awards and settlements for asbestos victims, but the victories have been bittersweet, because medical science has not yet been able to cure or even effectively treat mesothelioma, and a patient’s prognosis is usually grim.

The Mancusos may also face hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution for the cleanup effort needed to properly dispose of the asbestos they had unlawfully handled. A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 8 to determine the family’s liability.

At the June 9 sentencing, U.S. District Court Senior Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. had harsh words for the family, telling Lester: “There seems to be no moral or legal compass for anyone. I think you bring new meaning to [the term] ‘dysfunctional.’ “

This news story was brought to you by the asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers at Cooney & Conway, a nationally recognized law firm that has brought recovery —and justice—to victims of asbestos exposure and the deadly diseases it can cause. For over half a century we have been advocates for those injured by the wrongful acts of others and have successfully resolved some of the nation’s most significant asbestos lawsuits.

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