Riverside County, CA - Two suspects had big recycling plans which were thwarted in a sting operation in California.
CalRecycle sent out a press release on the big bust:
A successful multi-agency recycling fraud sting has resulted in two arrests, the discovery of fraudulent documents, and the recovery of 14,695 pounds of used beverage containers from Arizona that had been allegedly imported for the purpose of defrauding the California Redemption Value Fund.
The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery joined the California Department of Justice and the California Department of Food and Agriculture to conduct the five-day operation from March 13 to 17.
“CalRecycle’s fraud prevention reforms and substantial network of enforcement partners make it increasingly risky for those attempting to defraud California’s Redemption Value Program,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “The department will continue to use all available resources to make sure CRV deposits go back to California consumers and not in the pockets of criminal enterprises.”
The sting centered on the CDFA border checkpoint in Blythe, Calif., and the nearby intersection of Agnes Wilson Road and Highway 95, a route often used by individuals in an attempt to circumvent the border checkpoint.
On March 14, CDFA agents at the border checkpoint detected a fraudulent Imported Material Report and false Bill of Lading provided by Balmore Alvarado, 49, of Chino, Calif., as he entered California from Arizona. A subsequent inspection of Alvarado’s trailer revealed 7,020 pounds of used beverage containers with a potential CRV refund value of $10,275.85.
On March 16, CDOJ Recycling Fraud Team agents conducted surveillance on a semi-truck, found to be importing used beverage containers from Parker, Ariz., into Blythe, Calif., via Agnes Wilson Road. CDOJ agents contacted Anthony Sanchez, 56, of Tucson, Ariz., and discovered his trailer filled with 7,675 pounds of used beverage containers with a potential CRV refund value of $9,636.79. Sanchez also presented a fraudulent Bill of Lading and did not have an Imported Material Report, required for anyone who transports used beverage containers into California.
Both drivers face charges of felony recycling fraud, attempted grand theft, filing a false or forged document, and conspiracy. If convicted, the men could be subject to financial penalties and incarceration. The charges carry a sentence of between six months and three years.
Let this be a warning to everybody that California takes their recycling seriously.