- Associated Press - Thursday, March 5, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - A former pesticide inspector for the state whose job was funded by the federal government has been sentenced to two years of probation for faking more than a year’s worth of inspections.

Paul Ricco, of Springfield, was hired by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to conduct compliance reviews on whether pesticides were being properly used, stored, sold, labeled and disposed of by facilities that produced, sold or distributed them.

The Republican (https://bit.ly/17V8nVt ) newspaper reports prosecutors say in what amounted to a no-show job, the 54-year-old Ricco created bogus inspection reports in 2012 for reviews he never conducted.

He pleaded guilty in federal court to 15 counts of making false statements.

Ricco’s lawyer said his client was “really nice guy” and blamed his actions on depression.

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Information from: The Springfield (Mass.) Republican, https://www.masslive.com/news/

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