BUFFAO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The U.S. Attorney's Office says a property owner and property manager of multiple Erie County properties face charges for failing to properly notify tenants of lead hazards.
57-year-old Angel Elliot Dalfin of Baltimore, Maryland and 51-year-old Paul Richard Heil of Buffalo were charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to make false documents.
“Lead-based paint can create major environmental health risks, and the actions taken by the defendants as alleged in the complaint created unnecessary risk to unsuspecting renters and purchasers,” said U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. “My office will not allow dangerous disregard for the rule of law to go unchecked, and we will continue to work with our partners to protect the health of our community.”
It is alleged that in 2018 the the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received a referral from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Lead Programs Enforcement Division, Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, involving multiple properties owned and/or managed by Dalfin and Heil. Officials say the properties were allegedly previously cited by the Erie County Health Department for lead paint hazards. ECDOH also allegedly received several reports of children with elevated blood lead levels at the properties, according to officials.
The complaint says between 2010 and 2018, around 50% to 60% of tenants living in properties owned and/or managed by Dalfin and Heil did not receive lead disclosure notices that are required by federal law. The other tenants who did receive lead disclosure notices were tenants receiving financial housing assistance and received disclosures from the public housing agencies. Officials say when lead disclosure forms were provided, they allegedly contained false statements concealing the hazardous conditions and the existence of reports.
"Between 2013 and 2020, at least 54 of the properties identified as being owned or managed by the defendants have been cited for lead hazards or conditions conducive to lead poisoning by the health department. For example, between 2013 and 2019, at least 23 children had an elevated blood lead level while residing at these properties, and seven of those properties had multiple child elevated blood lead level referrals," a release says.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Dalfin and Heil also provided false lead disclosure statements to buyers of numerous properties.