Vancouver man gets jail in lead-based paint case

He's sentenced to 14 months after pleading guilty to wire fraud

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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A Vancouver man has been sentenced to 14 months in prison for lying about being certified to perform lead-based paint testing in homes.

Martin Glaves Kuna, 66, pleaded guilty earlier this week in federal court in Portland to one count of wire fraud.

"The bottom line is, the actions you engaged in put children at risk," said U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon, according to a statement. "Our society just cannot allow that."

Kuna falsely advertised online and told customers in person from May 2008 to September 2012 that he was certified to perform lead-based paint inspections in homes where children lived, though he was not qualified to do so by state standards, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

During that period, Kuna conducted more than 10 lead-based paint inspections, the Justice Department said. In one instance, children resided in the home that was inspected, and Kuna gave the homeowner a false negative for the detection of lead, according to the press release. Prosecutors said the defendant failed to perform the appropriate tests to determine lead in the home. As a result, some of the children in the home experienced increased lead levels in their blood, they said.

In January 2012, civil investigators with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered Kuna to stop all lead-based paint inspections and testing. Kuna ignored the EPA's order until September 2012, the press release says.