MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas and New York State Department of Environmental Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that a Valley Stream man and his company have pleaded guilty to criminally damaging New York State property by dumping 80,000 pounds of construction debris on the side of a highway in Uniondale.
L&J Stucco Inc. pleaded guilty before Judge Robert Bogle to Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree (a D felony). The plea was by corporate counsel and was authorized by corporate officer Jose Cruz Maltez who was present in court. The defendant corporation was sentenced to pay a $1,500.00 fine as well as full restitution in the amount of $15,507.71 for labor, equipment and dumping fees associated with cleanup of the property located alongside the Meadowbrook Parkway.
Jose Cruz Maltez, 40, pleaded guilty before Judge Robert Bogle to Criminal Trespass in the Third Degree (a B misdemeanor). The defendant was sentenced to a conditional discharge, the required condition being the payment of restitution.
“Illegally dumping construction debris not only creates an eyesore for the community – but also creates health and environmental hazards,” DA Singas said. “I thank our partners with the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Transportation for bringing us this case.”
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “New York’s environmental laws ensure there are safe and legal avenues to dispose of construction debris to protect public health and the environment. There is a cost to dispose of these materials, and in this case, the defendant attempted to pass that cost along to New York’s taxpayers by dumping this material on State owned lands. With the support of the Nassau County District Attorney’s office, DEC investigators swiftly identified the perpetrator and brought him to justice, and now we’re initiating the cleanup of the site to mitigate the damage to our environment.”
New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas said, “I thank District Attorney Singas, our partners at DEC, and DOT staff for their work on behalf of the people of Nassau County and New York State. Illegal dumping, which impacts taxpayers and the environment, is a serious crime that is not tolerated here in New York and presents danger to public health. Let this be a lesson to others contemplating such actions: you will be caught and forced to pay full restitution for your illegal activities.”
DA Singas said on April 24, 2017, the Department of Transportation contacted the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation regarding the illegal dumping of construction and demolition debris found on vacant land along the south side of Jerusalem Avenue, bordered to the west by the Meadowbrook State Parkway, in Uniondale. DEC investigators responded to the location and found four piles of debris weighing 80,000 pounds and measuring approximately 106' in length by 9' in width by 5' in height.
An investigation by DEC traced the debris back to a residential address in Forest Hills, Queens where demolition was occurring. The investigation also revealed the company completing the construction and demolition at the site had hired the defendant who is the owner of L&J Stucco, to haul away their waste from the site. The company also paid L&J Stucco for the cost of disposal at an authorized facility in addition to L&J Stucco’s fee.
Illegal dumping can contaminate not only the dumping site requiring costly cleanup, but harmful contaminants can seep into the water table below as well. In addition, dumping on public lands results in additional burdens on taxpayers. The cleanup cost of $15,507.71 will be paid as restitution by the defendants. A fence was also erected at the site to prevent further incidents of a similar nature.
If you witness an environmental crime, contact the NYSDEC 24-hour Poacher and Polluter hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267).
Environmental Crimes Unit Chief Brian Heid of DA Singas’ Financial Crimes Bureau is prosecuting this case. Maltez and L&J Stucco is represented by Irwin Klein, Esq.