Owner of mold inspection business accused of running fraud scheme

Feb 21, 2011

The following article was published in the Orlando Sentinel on February 21, 2011:

Owner of mold inspection business accused of running fraud scheme

By Amy Pavuk

The owner of an Orlando mold inspection and remediation business was arrested Monday on charges that he falsified testing records and defrauded customers, the Department of Environmental Protection said.

Thomas P. Costa, 59, owner of Protective Solutions, faces more than three dozen criminal charges ranging from grand theft to insurance fraud to violating the RICO Act.

According to DEP, Costa offered his services to homeowners, businesses and apartment complexes in Orlando, Fort Myers and the West Palm Beach areas from April 2007 to November 2008.

During that time, DEP alleges, Costa obtained samples that he told his clients would be tested, however, no testing occurred.

Authorities say Costa provided fictitious laboratory reports to clients that were extremely technical.

He then offered assistance in performing “remediation,” for the mold problems — tearing out walls, carpet, flooring and cabinets — in order to remove the supposed mold.

During the “remediation,” the mold was not always removed properly, leaving clients with continuing problems.

Many clients moved or lost their homes, DEP said.

During that timeframe, authorities say, Costa and Protective Solutions received more than $239,000 for fraudulent laboratory testing and remediation work.

There are more than 29 victims, DEP said.

Find this article here:  http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-mold-inspection-owner-arrest-20110221,0,400105.story