Nine Arrested in Recycling Fraud Case

Open recycling bin with full of glass bottles, close-up

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Nine people have been arrested in connection with a recycling fraud operation involving Southern California and Arizona, authorities said today.

“Recycling fraud is a serious crime with real consequences for the offenders,'' CalRecycle Acting Director Ken DaRosa said.

“CalRecycle tackles this problem through an effective collaboration with law enforcement partners who are committed to finding those who would attempt to defraud the state,'' DaRosa said.

California's Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act incentivizes recycling through a California Redemption Value fee paid by California consumers at the time of purchase and refunded upon return of the empty beverage containers to state-certified recycling centers.

However, the fee is not paid on beverages purchased outside the state, and those containers are not eligible for CRV redemption, DaRosa said.

The suspects, targeted in a months-long investigation, allegedly brought truckloads of nonredeemable material from Arizona to storage facilities and recycling centers in Southern California in order to redeem the material for money and defraud California's CRV fund.

Truckers allegedly took a long, circuitous route in order to avoid inspection by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The suspects were identified as Raymundo Montoya, Sergio Hernandez, Ignacio Razo, Marvin Ren Amira Chali, Tomas Dominguez, Irving Dominguez Flores, Michael Dominguez, Job Robles-Pelaez, and Zayda Garcia Mejia.

Authorities said they may face suspension of their commercial driver licenses and impounding of their big rigs. Conviction of felony fraud carries a potential sentence of six months to three years behind bars in addition to fines and court-ordered restitution.

Photo: Getty Images

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