California Family Charged with Multi-Million Dollar Recycling Fraud Scheme

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. – A California family has found themselves in hot water as they face a slew of felony charges for an alleged recycling fraud scheme that reaped millions of dollars.

According to a felony complaint filed on July 19 by California state prosecutors, eight family members in Riverside County stand accused of defrauding the state’s recycling program by transporting used bottles and cans from Arizona and redeeming them for profit in California.

The family’s operation is said to have spanned over eight months, during which they purportedly recycled around 178 tons of materials, resulting in an astonishing $7.6 million in earnings. The profits were accumulated through the state’s recycling program, which aims to incentivize recycling and protect the environment.

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The California Attorney General, Rob Bonta, spoke out against such fraudulent activities, emphasizing the importance of preserving the integrity of the recycling program. “California’s recycling program is funded by consumers, and helps protect our environment and our communities,” Bonta stated. “Those who try to undermine its integrity through criminal operations will be held accountable.”

Thanks to the combined efforts of investigators from the Attorney General’s office and CalRecycle, the fraudulent scheme was brought to light, prompting legal action against the accused family members. The charges they are facing include recycling fraud, grand theft, and conspiracy.

The CalRecycle program offers financial incentives to encourage recycling at privately-owned centers, providing a 5- or 10-cent return on eligible beverage containers. However, it’s worth noting that only materials from within California are eligible for redemption. The alleged scheme involved transporting recyclables from Arizona, where no such redemption value program exists.

As part of its ongoing efforts to combat recycling fraud, CalRecycle is also pursuing legal action against the recycling centers implicated in the operation.

This case serves as a stark reminder that those attempting to exploit recycling programs for personal gain will not escape the law’s grasp.

With millions of dollars at stake and the program’s environmental goals in mind, authorities remain committed to protecting the integrity of California’s recycling initiatives. The investigation will continue as the legal proceedings unfold, sending a message of accountability to those contemplating similar fraudulent activities.

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