A former New York City building inspector with a reported drug addiction faces five years behind bars for selling federal safety certification cards to untrained workers, according to authorities.
Michael DiNardo, 54, of Queens, allegedly used the proceeds to feed his cocaine habit when he sold the coveted Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety cards from 2004 to 2007, reports say.
Prosecutors say inspector Michael DiNardo put a "price tag on the well-being of workers" when he sold them safety training cards without providing training.
The details regarding DiNardo’s drug addiction emerged Monday (Nov. 26) during proceedings in Manhattan Federal Court, according to reports. Judge Naomi Buchwald adjourned without issuing a final order regarding his sentence.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said DiNardo will be sentenced Dec. 5.
Settlement Agreement Null
DiNardo was originally charged in March 2010 with conspiring to defraud OSHA and pleaded guilty in May 2011. But in lieu of serving time, he had been helping federal authorities nab drug dealers in the city under an agreement with prosecutors, reports say.
However, the deal became null when he allegedly disappeared for eight months and started using cocaine again, reports say.
“This is a gentleman who provided substantial assistance in a number of prosecutions,” his attorney, public defender Christopher Flood, told a local news bureau.
However, Buchwald said she considered the sale of the OSHA safety cards as an “extremely serious crime with an enormous potential for harm.”
Criminal Activity Uncovered
An undercover investigation led to DiNardo’s arrest in 2010.
Federal prosecutors said DiNardo had sold OSHA cards to workers and companies who needed them to install scaffolding in high-rise buildings or to handle Hazardous Waste Operation and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) throughout New York City. He charged $100 to $325 per card.
City regulations require workers on all construction projects involving buildings higher than 10 stories to complete a 10-hour or 30-hour occupational safety outreach training program, which is regulated and supervised by OSHA.
Authorities confirmed that DiNardo, who was terminated by the City’s Buildings Department in 2007, was authorized by OSHA to administer outreach training, but not HAZWOPER training.
Despite his accreditation, DiNardo sold undercover officers as many as 47 cards even though they did not complete the required training, according to prosecutors.
Further, DiNardo also admitted that he had sold more than 55 training certificates to an undisclosed construction company for a total of $7,720, according to reports.
“DiNardo put a price tag on the well-being of workers and of those who depend on them to know how to safely do their jobs,” Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a 2010 statement.