Attorney General announces jail sentence for Parker man responsible for contributing to airborne release of asbestos

DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that an Elbert County District Court judge has sentenced Michael Merit (DOB: 8/5/1964) of Parker to 40 days in jail for his role in contributing to the release of asbestos into the air by misleading state officials and forging lab results. Merit’s sentence follows his September guilty plea to causing or contributing to a hazardous substance incident, a class-four felony.

According to the indictment, handed down in April 2010, Merit falsely claimed to be a certified asbestos inspector between Nov. 1, 2007 and Jan. 30, 2008 in order to obtain work in connection with the demolition of a mobile home park in Elizabeth, Colo. Once hired by the demolition company, Merit performed the wrong tests to determine if asbestos was present in the mobile homes. Merit then delivered the forged test results to the demolition company, which used them to apply for a demolition permit from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

In addition to the 40 days imprisonment, Merit also will be required to pay $5,000 into the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Environmental Crimes Investigation fund, which is used to test materials during the investigation of environmental crimes.

The Office of the Attorney General investigated Merit and secured its indictment and Merit’s sentence with the assistance of the Colorado Environmental Crime Task Force, the Air Quality Unit of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division.

To report an environmental crime in Colorado, call the Colorado Environmental Crime Task Force at 303-312-6134 or fill out the form posted on the Attorney General’s Web site.

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