Two men were convicted of dumping thousands of tons of asbestos-contaminated material at a piece of land located on the Mohawk River in upstate New York. The Department of Justice (DOJ) reports that Donald Torriero and Julius DeSimone were sentenced in federal court in Utica, NY on Friday for conspiring to violate the Clean Water Act, the Superfund statute, wire fraud, and to defrauding the United States.

According to the press release, Torriero and DeSimone conspired to cover the entire piece of property, over the course of five years, with construction and demolition debris that had been processed at New Jersey solid waste management facilities and then transported to the open property in Frankfort, NY. The scheme was discovered just months after the operation began, but the men had already dumped an estimated 400 truckloads of contaminated debris at the site.

Much of the material was dumped in and around water, and some of the construction and demolition material was found to be contaminated with asbestos.

The two men went so far as to forge a “permit letter,” which they used to dump the contaminated debris at the Mohawk River site. Torriero and DeSimone attempted to conceal their illegal activities by committing more criminal acts. They fabricated a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) permit, on which they forged the name of DEC official.

“Torriero and DeSimone endangered the health of both their fellow citizens and sensitive wetlands by violating numerous laws meant to ensure the proper disposal of toxic materials,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Robert Dreher of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division stated.

Asbestos can cause serious diseases including, Mesothelioma, lung cancer, Asbestosis, and pleural thickening. “The defendants in this case conspired to illegally dispose asbestos containing material. This case demonstrates that the American people will not tolerate those who make money by breaking the law and damage the environment,” said Vanessa Jones-Allen, Acting Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in New York.

Alisha is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow her on Twitter @childoftheearth.