|For Immediate Release
January 8th, 2004
Media Relations Spokesperson
ORANGE COUNTY BUSINESS OWNER CHARGED WITH DEFRAUDING CUSTOMERS AND ILLEGALLY DUMPING ASBESTOS
Santa Ana – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has filed charges against the owner of an Orange County heating and air-conditioning company for defrauding customers and illegally dumping asbestos on a college campus. Operating the business under several names, Timothy James Lester, 29, of Buena Park, and his co-worker David Anthony Greenly, 24, of Huntington Beach, are accused of victimizing clients and subjecting them to health risks by improperly removing asbestos ducts from their residences. The two have been charged with 9 felony counts involving a hazardous waste, 5 felony counts of grand theft, 3 felony counts of theft from an elder, and a misdemeanor petty theft charge. If convicted on all charges Lester and Greenly face a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison.
Lester, the owner of Best Home Services in Fullerton, would contract to replace old heating and air conditioning units. He would accept a down payment for the work, often several thousand dollars, and in many instances would not return to install the new unit. In the meantime, his clients were exposed to asbestos and left without air-conditioning or heat. Lester and Greenly are also charged with failing to follow the proper procedures for removing asbestos from a home. Moreover, Lester, Greenly and a third defendant, Eduardo Esquivel, 55, of Orange, then improperly disposed of the asbestos laden ducts by dumping them in a garbage dumpster on the campus of Hope University in Fullerton. Esquivel is charged with three felony counts relating to hazardous waste disposal, handling, and transportation. If convicted on all counts, he faces up to 3 years in state prison.
“These individuals have been charged with defrauding customers including the elderly. Their clients trusted them and they took advantage of the situation leaving their customers without air-conditioning in the summer or heat in the winter,” said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “Furthermore, these individuals have shown disregard for the health of their clients and the community at large by releasing a dangerous substance (asbestos) into the environment.”
The Better Business Bureau has received a significant number of complaints about Lester and his companies. Lester has used six different names for his business which operated out of four different cities but had clients throughout Southern California. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has set up a hotline for anyone who may have been a victim of the following companies operated by Lester.
Operating from addresses in Anaheim, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, and Garden Grove, Lester used these names for his business: Best Home Services, Best Home Care, Best Home Air Care , California Clean Air, All Clean Home Care, A to Z Home Care.
If you believe you have been victimized by one of these companies contact the Orange County District Attorney’s Office at (714) 347-8874. This investigation has been a cooperative effort between the Environmental Protection Unit (OCDA) and the Criminal Investigations Branch of the Department of Toxic Substances Control.