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Slumlord heading to prison after putting children's health in jeopardy

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Posted at 3:08 PM, Jun 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-04 16:01:56-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — An Amherst man is heading to jail for his slumlord tactics which jeopardized the health of his young tenants.

On Tuesday, 41-year-old Maxim Levin was sentenced to 90 days in jail, concurrent to a federal prison sentence of 21 months on a separate federal charge.

The Amherst man pleaded guilty to one count of Willful Violation of Health Laws, Public Health Law Section 12-b (1), a misdemeanor offense and the highest charge. Levin admitted he failed to comply with public health law by renting an apartment on Fargo Avenue in Buffalo in willful violation of a “Do Not Occupy” order issued by the Erie County Health Department.

This case dates back to November 2016 when the Erie County Health Department was notified about a child with an elevated blood lead level who lived at the address. Investigators say a public health sanitarian inspected the home and tried to work with Levin to correct the violations.

Then in July 2018, the health department was notified again about a second child with an elevated blood lead level who lived at the same address.

Due to the property not being in compliance with the law, a “Do Not Allow Occupancy of Dwelling Unit” notice was posted in September 2018, meaning the property was to remain vacant until it was re-inspected and approved for occupancy by the Erie County Department of Health.

Later that month, the public health sanitarian returned to the address and discovered the “Do Not Occupy” notice was removed from the front door. Notices were re-posted on the front door and the side door of the house.

When the home was inspected again in January 2019, health officials say they discovered people were living there.

Lead exposure can have serious health consequences, especially for children. To learn more about lead exposure prevention, click here.