Hartford & Fairfield Counties
School Mold Cleanup Leads To Fraud Arrest
Thursday, January 25, 2006:
He faces up to 25 years in prison.
It is expected Schongar will enter not guilty pleas to the charges when he is arraigned next week. The case is assigned to Senior U.S. District Judge Ellen Bree Burns.
Schongar ran Microb Phase, which used a product called Microb Shield to fight mold. He told school officials his product was registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and produced an altered bulletin for an unrelated product called AEGIS Microbe Shield, which he sent to the schools.
AEGIS Environmental in Midland, Mich., told authorities they never supplied their product to Schongar.
Easton police began investigating Schongar after several students and teachers at Samuel Staples School complained of respiratory problems, upset stomachs and skin rashes during mold remediation work performed at their school between 2000 and 2003. Later he told authorities he mixes a solution of rubbing alcohol and soap.
On Jan. 14, 2004, Easton police and federal agents searched Schongar's home, garage and a rented storage unit. They took environmental samples and seized several suspected fraudulent "certificates, diplomas and resumes" listing Schongar's qualifications.
"Mold remediation is an incredibly important service to public health," said U.S. Attorney Kevin J. O'Connor. "It is a business that should never be exploited for profit." The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward T. Kang and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Lauterback. The EPA, along with Easton police, investigated the matter.
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