A Louisiana asbestos inspector turned out to be a con artist, duping the school board that hired him out of thousands of dollars, but, more alarmingly, may have exposed hundreds of the district’s schoolchildren to asbestos.
Marc Victoriano, 46, of Covington, was ordered to repay nearly $213,000 to the Terrebonne Parish School Board for theft from a program that received federal funding. In addition, federal Judge Lance M. Africk sentenced Victoriano to eight months of home confinement and placed him on five years of probation.
Not a licensed asbestos inspector
Terrebonne Parish is in the southern part of the state. From 2015 to 2017, the parish’s school board hired Victoriano and his company Professional Safety Consultants LLC to provide federally mandated asbestos inspections for the district’s school buildings.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Victoriano ignored regulations regarding the safe management and removal of asbestos at certain sites As a result of his actions, Victoriano placed workers, the public and schoolchildren at risk.
The heat-resistant mineral asbestos is a known carcinogen. If a person regularly inhales asbestos fibers, he or she decades later may be diagnosed with mesothelioma – a cancer that lines the membranes of the chest and abdomen. Cancer of the lungs, larynx and ovaries also are possible.
In February 2020, Victoriano was indicted in federal court as prosecutors accused him of lining up asbestos inspections with the school board although he was not a licensed asbestos inspector. He also submitted at least three years of fake reports.
According to court records, Victorian provided the school district with 56 invoices that included fraudulent asbestos laboratory information that included fabricated air monitoring and asbestos testing. He also submitted nine invoices to the school district regarding reports with the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act. The latter contained forged signatures and his company’s credentials.
It is terrible that situations like these occur, involving unscrupulous and negligent companies and their owners. Asbestos is harmful and if not properly handled may lead to unnecessary exposure to its deadly fibers. Its presence endangers the public, and, in this case, schoolchildren.