Khalili also admitted to take steps to evade law enforcement at each site. At the first apartment complex, Khalili attempted to have a dumpster filled with asbestos waste removed from the site when inspectors from the Clark County Department of Air Quality discovered asbestos-related violations. At the second complex, where he oversaw illegal renovations while on pretrial release, he instructed the contractor in charge of the renovation to lie to inspectors about who owned and oversaw the project, in an to blame another person for the attempt Clean Air Act violations he knowingly committed.
Inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers has been determined to cause lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma, an invariably fatal disease. Congress and the EPA have determined that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.
“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.”
“By not removing asbestos – a known carcinogen – safely from the buildings he was working on, the defendant placed the health of his apartment residents and the surrounding community at risk,” said Special Agent in Charge Scot Adair of the EPA’s Criminal Enforcement Program in Nevada. “Today’s agreements demonstrates that those who violate those laws will be held responsible.”
Special agents of the EPA and employees of the Clark County Department of Air Quality investigated the case. Trial Attorney Cassandra Barnum of ENRD’s Environmental Crimes Section and Assistant US Attorney Jean Ripley for the District of Nevada prosecuted the case.