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Man convicted in asbestos case

Crime: Santa Clarita man faces 25 years for improper renovation

Posted: March 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

A second Santa Clarita man was convicted Tuesday of a slew of felony charges related to the improper renovation of a San Fernando Valley apartment complex. The renovation causing asbestos to be released into the surrounding community.

Charles Yi, 45, was convicted of five felonies, including conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act, in U.S. District Court following a two-week trial, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Yi faces up to 25 years in federal prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced in June.

Yi knew asbestos was present in the ceiling of a 204-unit apartment building in the San Fernando Valley that he owned, Nick Torres, a special agent in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s criminal enforcement program in California, said in the statement.

In 2006, Yi hired workers who had no asbestos-removal certification or training to scrape the Winnetka building’s ceilings.

Despite being told by investigators to stop removing the asbestos, the renovation continued, Torres said.

“Exposure to asbestos can be fatal,” Torres said. “Today’s conviction by a jury shows that the American people will not tolerate those who put illegal financial gain ahead of their obligation to obey the law.”

Yi’s conviction comes about a month after another Santa Clarita man, John Bostick, pled guilty to charges related to the case.

Bostick, 40, was vice president of the now-defunct Millennium Pacific Icon Group, which owned the apartment complex.

Bostick faces up to five years in federal prison when he is scheduled to be sentenced May 2.

In February, he admitted he didn’t tell the workers that they were scraping asbestos from the ceiling of the apartment complex, potentially exposing the workers to asbestos poisoning.

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