AG Gansler Secures Guilty Plea from Baltimore Landlord for Falsifying Lead Inspection Certificate
Judge Imposes $3,000 Fine, Orders Three Years Probation
MD ( Nov. 17, 2011) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Baltimore City landlord James Digirolamo, 49, pled guilty to one count of illegally falsifying a residential lead certificate to the Maryland Department of the Environment. This is a violation of Environment Article 1-302(a) of the Annotated Code of Maryland. The falsified lead certificate had been delivered by the landlord to tenants of a rental dwelling unit.
"Forging documents is a very serious crime, especially when it circumvents vital environmental standards that protect the health of Maryland children and families," said Attorney General Gansler. "Lead paint is a major health hazard that can lead to dire consequences for residents, especially children, who ingest paint chips or breathe the dust inside the home, day after day."
The plea, entered in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, resulted from Digirolamo fabricating a Lead Paint Risk Reduction Certificate for a property at 1812 Eutaw Place in Baltimore. A property constructed before 1950 that contains at least one rental dwelling unit must satisfy a risk reduction standard before a tenant occupies it.
The falsified certificate was discovered after a tenant became suspicious of the Lead Paint Risk Reduction Certificate sent to him by Mr. Digirolamo. The tenant contacted the Department of the Environment's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program and learned that the certificate number had been issued to another building. The tenants had not received the lead certificate, as required, when they moved in December 2010. Only after pressuring the landlord did they receive the falsified certificate on March 1, 2011.
Judge Edward R. K. Hargadon granted the defendant probation before judgment, imposed a fine of $3,000 to be paid to the Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund and placed him on probation for a period of three years.
This guilty plea follows an investigation conducted by the Environmental Crimes Unit of the Office of the Attorney General, with the assistance of the Maryland Department of Environment's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.