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August 3, 2017 CT Green Guide

Biz owner pleads guilty to fraudulent environmental certification

The owner of a Middletown industrial safety training company pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of making a false statement to the federal government, according to U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut Deirdre M. Daly.

The false statement made by Essex resident Stephen Craig, 66, relates to a 32-hour lead-abatement training course his company, Environmental Training and Assessment, offered in Middletown in 2011.

An undercover Environmental Protection Agency agent attended the course under a fake identity, skipped the first two days of the course and was late for the third.

After the agent paid a $525 course fee, Craig allowed him to sit for the final examination, despite knowing that the agent had not attended for the required number of hours, according to Daly’s office.

The agent intentionally failed the exam, but Craig’s son, Matthew Craig, filled in some of the answers that had been left blank, bringing the test up to a passing grade. The company later issued the agent a certificate of completion.

“Asbestos and lead removal training providers, like Stephen Craig’s businesses, are entrusted with keeping safe the supervisors, workers and the public that hire them,” Special Agent in Charge Tyler Amon said in a statement. “Sham trainers will continue to be a focus for EPA enforcement since they pose too great a risk to the public health.”

Stephen Craig will be sentenced in November. He faces a maximum of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

In 2013, Matthew Craig pleaded guilty to the same charge as his father and was sentenced to two years probation and 100 hours of community service.

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