NEW YORK (AP) _ A man was named Tuesday in a 75-count indictment that charges him with selling forged asbestos-handling certificates to non-English speaking immigrants who were looking for work.
Jerzy Jakubczyk, 30, of Brooklyn, allegedly used a storefront to sell the certificates for up to $300 apiece, said Brooklyn District Attorney Elizabeth Holtzman.
The certificates are usually issued by the city Department of Environmental Protection to people who have completed an approved asbestos health and safety course and who have passed an exam.
Licensing began in April in an effort to insure that workers take adequate precautions to avoid health hazards associated with asbestos, a cancer-causing substance, said DEP spokeswoman Tina Casey.
Jakubczyk was arrested Aug. 29 after a group of people who had purchased certificates demonstrated outside the storefront because they suspected the documents were false, Holtzman said.
Jakubczyk is is being held on $25,000 bail.
Police found 42 forged certificates in the storefront office.
″The defendant is accused of maliciously preying on immigrants whose inability to speak English and their desire to find work made them easy targets for such a scheme of deception,″ Holtzman said in a statement.
The indictment charges Jakubczyk with 18 counts of second-degree forgery, 54 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, two counts of first-degree scheme to defraud and one count of third-degree grand larceny.
The most serious charges carry a maximum sentence of two and a third years to seven years in jail.
An investigation is continuing to make sure there are no people working with fraudulent certificates.