LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – A California man managing at least two Las Vegas apartment complexes pleaded guilty to asbestos-related violations, according to the US District Court of Nevada.
Bobby Babak Khalili, 46, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the Clean Air Act in the US District Court of Nevada. Khalili was indicted by two grand juries in Sept. 2019 and in July 2021 for separate offenses at two apartment complexes.
Khalili admitted that on behalf of his company Las Vegas Apartments LLC, he oversaw renovations at two apartment complexes and was aware of asbestos-containing materials at both buildings. The US Attorney’s Office said Khalili knowingly hired untrained individuals to tear out those materials without following the standards laid out by the Clean Air Act on handling asbestos.
“At both apartment buildings, untrained laborers removed asbestos-containing drywall and ceiling texture without wetting or containment, releasing asbestos fibers into the surrounding atmosphere,” the US Attorney’s Office said in a media statement.
Inhalation of airborne asbestos can cause lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency have said there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.
Khalili also admitted to take steps to evade law enforcement at each site, prosecutors said. Khalili attempted to have a dumpster filled with asbestos waste removed from the site when Clark County Department of Air Quality inspectors discovered violations. At the second complex, Khalili reportedly instructors a contractor to lie to inspectors about who oversaw the project so the blame would be shifted to someone else, prosecutors said.
“The defendant placed workers and community members in harm’s way when he knowingly violated Clean Air Act requirements for the safe handling of asbestos, and then did it again while already under indictment,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Environment and Natural Resources Division . “The Department of Justice will continue to hold accountable those who defy federal law aimed at protecting the public from adverse health effects of asbestos.”
“Exposure to asbestos is associated with life-threatening illnesses and serious respiratory diseases,” said Acting US Attorney Christopher Chiou for the District of Nevada. “By failing to follow required standards for properly handling asbestos, the defendant put the health of our communities — including workers at two apartment renovation sites — at risk. This case reflects our office’s commitment to work with our state and federal partners to enforce environmental laws that protect Nevadans from hazardous pollutants.”
Khalili faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count, and up to three years of supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for June 15.
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