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Kruk’s company was based out of an Alderton Street address in Rego Park.
By Forum Staff
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, joined by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos, announced last week that a Queens County HVAC business owner has been charged with attempted assault, endangering public health and other charges for placing the potentially deadly mercury chemical in the air conditioning units of a Jamaica Estates home and sickening the residents.
District Attorney Brown said, “The defendant in this case is accused of attempting to poison a family with mercury after persistent complaints from the homeowners about the malfunctioning air conditioning unit. The defendant allegedly had a final fix for the complainers and is alleged to have placed poisonous mercury in the new AC. Exposure to the element could prove fatal over time and did make the residents sick. Fortunately a family member spotted the chemical commonly referred to as quicksilver and alerted police. The defendant will now answer in a court of law for his alleged scheme.” The District Attorney identified the defendant as Yuriy Kruk, 48, of Alderton Street in Rego Park, Queens. The defendant was arraigned before Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron on a six-count indictment charging him with second-degree attempted assault and first- and fourth-degree endangering public health, safety or the environment. Justice Kron set bail at $10,000 bond or $5,000 cash and ordered the defendant to return to court on July 30.
According to the charges, the victim, Roman Pinkhasov hired A+ HVAC and Kitchen Corporation – owned and operated by Kruk – to do heating, ventilation and air conditioning work in his home. The victim persistently complained that the AC unit on the second floor wasn’t working properly. In the summer of 2015, the defendant told the homeowner that the system could not be repaired and would need to be replaced and installed a new unit in July 2015.
After the installation Mr. Pinkhasov’s wife Olga Yurgaueva found drops of a silver substance on the floor. In August 2015, Mr. Pinkhasov also found several more drops of the silver material in the vents and where the defendant had been working in the house. The family then called 911 and members of the New York City Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Unit responded and recovered additional mercuryfrom the first floor vent and other parts of the AC units on both floors. The family of three – the parents and their son – tested positive for mercury levels above acceptable norms. All three victims complained of various symptoms associated with mercury poisoning, including joint pain, headaches and lethargy.
If convicted, Kruk faces up to 5 to 15 years in prison.