NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Authorities on Thursday arrested 17 certified asbestos inspectors, who face a possible seven years behind bars for allegedly not doing their jobs.
As WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported, officials said the inspectors also might have exposed construction workers and others to the deadly mineral.
The defendants were accused of falsely filing documents stating that planned construction at dozens of properties in Manhattan and Staten Island would not disturb asbestos.
Among the asbestos inspectors charged, some did no inspections at all, according to officials. Others hid that asbestos had been found, and a number claimed to have conducted inspections when they were out of the state or country, officials said.
"As one instance records show that at the date and times that investigator claimed to be doing inspections, he was actually near Disneyland in Los Angeles," said Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.
Department of Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters noted that the inspectors are paid $250 to $800 per job.
"If I am an inspector and I accept to do 10 jobs tomorrow, I can't really do all 10 jobs," Peters said. "But if I don't show up at any of them and file the forms, then I can bill 10 people for 10 jobs."
Asked whether bribes were also paid, Peters would only say that issue continues to be investigated.
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