Margaret Garnett, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”), announced today the arraignment of a Staten Island landlord on a charge of providing a false certification of correction for a lead-based paint violation issued to him by the City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (“HPD”). HPD is responsible for issuing housing violations for lead-based paint conditions. DOI began its investigation after HPD reported the apparent false certification to DOI. The Office of the Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon is prosecuting this case.
DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett said, “Lead-based paint violations are serious hazards that if uncorrected pose great danger to tenants living inside the affected apartment. Landlords who ignore these conditions, or worse, provide false documentation to the City to avoid paying penalties, must be held accountable for their negligence and attempts to circumvent the law. DOI thanks the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office for their prosecution of this matter.”
Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said, "This defendant, who is a landlord of a Staten Island apartment building, has been charged with Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree for allegedly submitting fake lead-abatement paperwork. Lead paint poses serious potential health risks, especially in children, and anyone who would falsify such paperwork concerning its safe removal must be held responsible. I want to thank the Department of Investigation for their assistance with this case, as well as ADA Jonathan Chananie, head of RCDA’s Public Corruption Unit, for prosecuting this case.”
SERGEY KRIKUNOV, 56, of Staten Island, N.Y., is charged with one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E Felony. Upon conviction, a class E felony is punishable by up to four years in prison.
According to the criminal complaint and DOI’s investigation, in October 2019, KRIKUNOV, was the landlord at 283 Van Duzer Street and submitted lead abatement-related paperwork for one of the building’s apartments, including a certificate of correction for a lead-based paint violation that was purportedly performed by Jerome Environmental Services, LLC. An HPD employee reviewing KRIKUNOV’s submission noticed that the letterhead for Jerome Environmental Services, LLC on the certification did not match what the company would normally submit and contacted Jerome Environmental Services, LLC, which confirmed it had not conducted abatement work at the property. HPD referred the matter to DOI investigators who conducted interviews with HPD personnel and employees of Jerome Environmental Services, LLC, the tenant in the apartment, who stated the landlord had painted the walls himself, and reviewed paperwork filed by the defendant. The investigation determined that Jerome Environmental Services, LLC had not performed any lead-abatement work at the apartment in question and did not issue the purported certificate of correction the defendant submitted as part of his filing with HPD.
HPD inspected the apartment where the lead-based paint violations were issued, cleaned the areas, and tested them for residual levels of hazardous lead dusts several times since the discovery of the alleged falsified certification. Upon HPD’s final inspection, the apartment passed.
Commissioner Garnett thanked City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Louise Carroll and Richmond District Attorney Michael E. McMahon, and their staffs, for their cooperation and assistance in this investigation.
The investigation was conducted by DOI’s Office of the Inspector General for HPD, specifically Special Investigator Eric Johnson, under the supervision of Inspector General Jessica Heegan, Deputy Commissioner/Chief of Investigations Dominick Zarrella, and First Deputy Commissioner Daniel Cort.
A criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty