Dolgetta Law

Lead Paint Disclosure: A Very Real Potential for Criminal Liability and Other Severe Penalties

Maureen S. Walck (“Defendant”), a real estate broker with RealtyUSA, a real estate brokerage firm with an office located in Lockport, New York, pleaded guilty and entered into a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney General to a misdemeanor for failure to provide the lead paint hazard warning notice in accordance with the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 (the “Lead Paint Act”) (see USA v. Walck, Case No. 1:17-mj-01103-JJM). The charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a fine of $100,000, or both, a mandatory $25 special assessment and a one-year term of supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for December 11, 2017.

The Facts of the Case

In 2009, the owner (“Owner”) of a residence located in Lockport, New York (“Home” or “Premises”), discovered that lead paint hazards existed in the Owner’s home and learned that his child had been affected by lead poisoning. The Owner then had the home inspected for lead paint and was provided with reports that confirmed the presence of lead paint hazards.

On January 15, 2014, the Owner entered into an exclusive right to sell agreement with the Defendant to sell the Home, which was constructed in the early 1900’s. At that time the Owner told the Defendant about the lead paint hazards and showed the Defendant copies of the inspection reports. Later that month a prospective buyer (the “First Buyer”) submitted an offer to purchase the Premises. The Lead-Based Paint Rider and Lead Based-Paint Disclosure Form were made a part of the contract of sale.

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