West Haven Man Falsely Certified Undercover FBI Agent for Asbestos Abatement Supervisor Course: Feds

WEST HAVEN, CT — A 64-year-old West Haven man faces up to five years in prison after authorities say he falsely certified an undercover FBI agent for an asbestos abatement supervisor course even though the agent didn’t attend any classes, received no training and didn’t take any exams.

Guido A. Cortes-Rodriguez pleaded guilty in Hartford federal court this week to one count of making a false statement to the federal government, U.S. States Attorney Deirdre M. Daly announced in a press release.

Cortes-Rodriguez accepted $1,260 cash in payment from the agent for the course certification, according to the press release.

Daly said that subsequent investigation determined that Cortes-Rodriguez provided fraudulent training certificates on multiple occasions.

Cortes-Rodriguez is scheduled to be sentenced on April 18, 2017, at which time he faces a maximum term of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Read more from the U.S. States Attorney’s press release below:

According to court documents and statements made in court, CORTES was a training instructor at North Star Center For Human Development (“North Star”), an organization that offered a variety of training courses and certification to individuals working with lead paint and asbestos. CORTES was the training manager and a primary instructor for those courses.

North Star’s lead and asbestos training courses were subject to regulation under the training provider accreditation requirements of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). TSCA allowed states to obtain U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authorization to administer and enforce the standards, regulations and other requirements of the TSCA’s lead and asbestos programs, including the approval of training courses.

The State of Connecticut received such authorization for asbestos and lead programs. Individuals in Connecticut who perform or supervise asbestos abatement activities must be certified by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH). To obtain certification, an individual must successfully complete an approved 40-hour asbestos abatement supervisor initial training course.

North Star applied for and received approval from CT DPH to offer a wide range of lead and asbestos training courses, including asbestos abatement supervisor initial and refresher courses.

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