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Man who let friends and family remove dangerous asbestos from building sent to prison

This news story was published on July 26, 2015.
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gavel-justiceSIOUX CITY – A man who knew an old YMCA building in Iowa he had purchased contained asbestos but sent his friends and family inside to remove the toxic substance has been sent to prison.

Larry Wolf, age 54, from Dakota City, Nebraska, received a sentence including a year and a day in prison after a December 17, 2014, guilty plea to one count of knowingly violating the work practice standards of the Clean Air Act by failing to thoroughly inspect the old -more-Sioux City YMCA to ascertain the amount of asbestos, and whether that amount was sufficient to subject the demolition project to regulation.

At the plea and sentencing hearings, the United States presented evidence that Wolf knew the building contained asbestos and regulated asbestos-containing material and that he had even received an asbestos abatement estimate for the building.

Despite knowing the old YMCA building contained asbestos, defendant directed friends, family, and others to, disturb, renovate, remove, and dispose the asbestos and regulated asbestos-containing material and help him personally do so. Defendant took at least 19,514 pounds of scrap metal from the old YMCA and was paid at least $30,477.54 from one particular scrap yard for it. Defendant boasted he had made $80,000.00 or more from the old YMCA in this way. When defendant was questioned by Special Agents of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, he lied telling them he had only removed naked materials from the facility.

United States Attorney Kevin W. Techau commented: “Environmental crimes that involve polluting air and Iowa’s water are serious matters. These cases show that violations of our environmental laws are taken very seriously because they impact our communities both now and in years to come. These sentences show that if you commit environmental crimes you will be prosecuted. I offer my congratulations to all of our partners in these cases.”

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