DETROIT -- Donald Patterson, former City of Detroit Health Department lead inspector, was recently sentenced to 46 months in federal prison after being convicted on wire fraud charges.

The case against Patterson unfolded at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began to roll out its controversial Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Patterson, 50, was indicted by a federal Grand Jury on May 11, 2010, on charges of soliciting bribes, wire fraud and making false statements concerning lead inspections. The four-count indictment charged that on several occasions, Patterson used his position to obtain cash from the owners or the renters of homes, in exchange for his falsely certifying that the homes were free of lead, or in exchange for his fraudulently pretending to provide instruction on how to safely remove the lead-based paint.

On July 9, 2010, Patterson pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court in which Patterson was given the responsibility of inspecting a Detroit home where a 2-year-old child, who had been admitted to the hospital with high blood-lead levels, resided. Patterson identified lead paint hazards, and then told the grandfather he needed to either pay a private training provider $500 to become certified to address the hazards, or pay Patterson $200 for this certification, which Patterson was not qualified to provide. Patterson’s "training," or directions on how to abate the lead, in fact exacerbated the conditions in the home, and created additional lead emissions which were pervasive on the ground, floor, and even on the toys in the home.

Posted by Rich Christianson
 
Read U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) press release.

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