Attorney General Zulima Farber reported that a Passaic County, New Jersey businessman has been ordered to pay a $9,000 fine in addition to the cost of cleaning-up hazardous asbestos construction debris illegally abandoned on a Paterson street in 2005. The successful prosecution was the first-ever under the 2005 Asbestos Control and Licensing Act.
According to the Division of Criminal Justice, Branko Rovcanin, 41, of Wayne, Passaic County, the owner of Betal Environmental Inc. (d/b/a Betal Environmental and/or Betal Enterprises), located at 250 Vreeland Ave., Paterson, Passaic County, was sentenced by Passaic County Superior Court Judge Randolph Subryan to three years probation, ordered to pay a $9,000 fine, and complete and pay all costs related to the clean-up of construction debris and asbestos material abandoned in a trailer on a public street in Paterson. Rovcanin pleaded guilty to charges of illegally collecting solid waste and the unlicenced removal of asbestos on Oct. 24, 2005.
A State Grand Jury indictment returned on March 4, 2005 charged that Rovcanin, as the owner and vice-president of Betal Environmental, obtained at least four separate contracts in 2004 and 2005 to remove asbestos and other construction debris from various construction sites in four separate counties even though the company was not licensed to perform such work.
The indictment charged that Rovcanin collected the debris, placed 33 bags of asbestos material in a trailer, and then abandoned the trailer on East 38th Street in Paterson. The abandoned trailer, recovered by Paterson Police on July 23, 2004, also contained construction debris, soil, wood, metal, carpet, and pieces of fiberglass boat hulls.
Rovcanin was arrested at his Paterson business office on March 7, 2005 by State Investigators from the Division of Criminal Justice – Environmental Crimes Bureau and officers from the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office.
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