Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez indicted five New Yorkers on Wednesday in an alleged asbestos removal scheme at a luxury duplex renovation in the Greenwood neighborhood of Brooklyn.
The accused include expediter Scott Schnall, who was previously “banned for life” by the Department of Buildings, after it found Schnall had “regularly used his professional filing privileges to try to circumvent the zoning resolution and construction codes.”
According to the DA, Schnall and four others conspired to conceal the existence of asbestos at 816-817 Fifth Avenue before applying for construction work permits.
“These defendants are accused of greedily taking dangerous shortcuts – bypassing safety measures that are put in place to protect the public from serious and unnecessary health risks – to maximize profits at any cost, including the well-being of employees and prospective tenants,” Gonzalez said in a statement.
The indictment includes 61 counts, with charges including fifth-degree conspiracy, first-degree falsifying business records, and second-degree reckless endangerment.
To carry out the scheme, the co-conspirators are alleged to have forged the signature of a licensed DOB contractor and filed false assessment reports about the existence of asbestos in the buildings.
Building records show the homes were owned and developed by Richard Juliano, who, along with his employee Carmine Casale, was also indicted on Wednesday. One still unsold home went on the market for $2.5 million last year.