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No-show at sentencing hearing, Andover woman faces arrest

March 26, 2009
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A federal court issued a warrant Monday for the arrest of an Andover woman previously found guilty of cheating on her taxes, placing illegal immigrants into dangerous work with asbestos, and arranging for false immigration documents for the workers from her two Methuen-based businesses.

Albania Deleon failed to show up at her sentencing hearing in US District Court in Boston, prompting the court to issue the arrest order, said Christina DiIorio Sterling, a spokeswoman for the US attorney's office. Assistant US Attorney Jonathan F. Mitchell was prepared to ask the court for Deleon to be sentenced to 87 months in prison, according to a sentencing memo.

In mid-November, after a 2 1/2-week trial, Deleon was convicted on 28 charges of employing as many as 800 untrained illegal immigrants in asbestos-removal jobs, providing them bogus identification papers, and evading taxes. Deleon carried out her actions through an asbestos abatement training school named Environmental Compliance Training, which issued false certificates supposedly proving the workers had been schooled in asbestos removal, and a temporary employment agency named Methuen Abatement Staffing, which placed them in jobs.

Deleon, originally from the Dominican Republic and a US citizen for 15 years, was under house arrest in Andover, wearing an electronic bracelet, pending her sentencing hearing. The US attorney's office would not give any further details on Deleon's whereabouts.

Prosecutors were hoping for a tough sentence in the case, saying it would signal to those involved in the asbestos-removal business that they must abide by state and federal laws protecting the environment, their clients, and workers.

Connie Paige

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