Thomaston Man Pleads Guilty In Federal Case
The Hartford Courant
4:31 p.m. EDT, May 4, 2012
A hazardous material contractor admitted in federal court Friday that he created phony letters to create the impression that his work removing lead-based materials such as paint from homes was in compliance with government standards.
John C. Scheerer, 41, of Thomaston made the admission while pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in New Haven to a charge of making a false statement in connection with a federally-funded home improvement project.
Federal prosecutors said Scheerer forged letters that said his lead removal work at about 30 homes around the state complied with federal safety standards.
The forgery of the letters became a crime because he was paid through a grant program under which towns used federal money to help homeowners pay for repairing and updating their residences.
Upon completing what is known as lead abatement work at homes, Scheerer was required to hire an independent inspector to inspect the work and determine that it met federal standards.
Instead, federal prosecutors said, for three years beginning in March 2006 Scheerer submitted phony approval letters that he wrote on the letterhead of an independent inspection company. He signed the name of the inspection company president to the letters, prosecutors said.
The affected residences included homes in Plainville and Woodbridge, according to a prosecution document.
Federal prosecutors said towns were compelled to spend additional money to test homes on which Scheerer had worked to make sure they were clear of lead hazards.
No additional information about the affected homes was available.
Scheerer faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced on Aug. 2 by U.S. District Judge Janet B. Arterton.
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