A recent BuzzFeed News investigation unearthed an unbelievable story: New York City officials awarded a government contract for Ebola clean-up to a con artist. Sal Pane, 32 boasted about his alleged experience, proclaiming: “I’ve been dealing with pathogens, bacterias, and terrorism types of anti-warfare for decades.” No one seemed to question the obvious implausibility of such a statement. “Twenty-seven years,” he told one radio station. “Not my first rodeo.” This would mean that Pane ventured into the business of hazardous material clean up at the tender age of four.
In fact, Pane turned out to be a mortgage scammer and a convicted felon, who duped a dead man’s grieving sister into selling her deceased brother’s business, along with his truck and performance record. When Pane and his Bio-Recovery crew showed up at the home of Dr. Craig Spencer, New York City’s first Ebola patient, they brought a truck bearing permit numbers that belonged to a dead man. Pane and Bio-Recovery have claimed to have certifications from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the EPA. In reality, Bio-Recovery’s state permit to haul medical waste expired in 2012, before Pane was associated with the company.