Connecticut Foundation
for Environmentally Safe Schools

Hartford & Fairfield Counties

School Mold Cleanup Leads To Fraud Arrest

Thursday, January 25, 2006:
by Michael P. Mayko, Connecticut Post
A federal grand jury indicted a convicted felon for defrauding school districts in Easton, Bristol and Manchester on mold remediation work he performed. The indictment accuses Ronald Schongar, 59, of Clifton Park, N.Y., of committing three counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud by misrepresenting the qualifications of the product he used. [MORE]

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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