Listed below are recent posts across all of CalRecyle's blogs.

  • Agents, CHP Thwart Phoenix-Based Recycling Fraud Scheme

    Suspect takes 70-mile detour to avoid California border checkpoint

    Media Contact:
    Mark Oldfield
    (916) 319-9942 
    mark.oldfield@calrecycle.ca.gov

    SACRAMENTO–The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery is announcing the arrest of a Los Angeles truck driver on charges of felony recycling fraud, attempted grand theft, and conspiracy. The suspect is accused of illegally transporting used beverage containers from Arizona to California with the intent to defraud the California Redemption Value Fund.

    “CalRecycle is staying on the offense with some of the most aggressive recycling-fraud prevention efforts in the nation,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “Our enforcement partners will continue to follow every lead, monitor suspected traffickers, and disrupt these criminal organizations before they have a chance to rip off California consumers.”

    On July 19, 2016, California Department of Justice Recycling Fraud Team agents witnessed a blue semi-truck with a white trailer being loaded with used beverage containers in Phoenix, Ariz.  Agents later followed the truck into California, then observed as the driver took a 70-mile detour to avoid the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) checkpoint in Blythe, Calif. Agents stopped the truck with assistance from the California Highway Patrol.

    Julio Bolanos, 40, of Los Angeles stated he was transporting cans from Arizona and did not have a shipment receipt or Imported Material Report, which are legally required to import used beverage containers into California. If Bolanos had gone through the CDFA checkpoint, he would have been required to declare the contents of his load and produce the documentation mentioned above. An examination of the trailer revealed approximately 7,000 pounds of bottles and cans worth an estimated $11,000 in potential California Redemption Value.

    The tractor-trailer was impounded and Bolanos was arrested on charges of felony recycling fraud, attempted grand theft, and conspiracy. He faces six months to three years in prison if convicted.

    At a Glance: CalRecycle’s Fraud Prevention Efforts

    California’s Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act incentivizes recycling through a California Redemption Value (CRV) fee paid by California consumers at the time of purchase and refunded upon return of the empty beverage containers to CalRecycle-certified recycling centers. Because the fee is not paid on beverages purchased outside the state, those containers are not eligible for CRV redemption.

    In addition to CalRecycle’s interagency agreements with CDOJ and CDFA, CalRecycle aggressively combats fraud and illicit payments through enhanced precertification training of recycling center owners; probationary reviews of recycling centers; oversight of certified processors; monitoring and tracking of imported materials; risk assessment of daily claims for reimbursement; daily load limits; application of prepayment controls; and post-payment reviews and investigations.

    Posted on In the Loop by Mark Oldfield on Aug 11, 2016

  • Raids on Storage Yards Uncover Recycling Fraud Rings

    Two plead guilty in Los Angeles County smuggling schemes

    Media Contact: Lance Klug
    (916) 341-6293 | lance.klug@calrecycle.ca.gov
    May 23, 2016
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    SACRAMENTO – Two men from the Los Angeles area will spend time behind bars and pay $1.25 million in restitution to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) for operating multi-state recycling fraud rings from two public storage facilities in South Gate. A five-month investigation revealed the men used the storage facilities as hubs to smuggle out-of-state used beverage containers into California for the purpose of defrauding the California Redemption Value Fund.

    “Californians expect and deserve vigorous fraud-prevention efforts to ensure the nickel or dime they pay at the cash register for CRV doesn’t wind up in the hands of criminal organizations,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “CalRecycle and its enforcement partners won’t stop until we put these smugglers out of business for good.”

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    Acting on a tip from CalRecycle, the California Department of Justice’s Recycling Fraud Team launched an investigation into Nova Storage and South Gate Public Self Storage in December 2015. During the investigation, agents observed used beverage containers from Phoenix, Ariz., being illegally transported to the South Gate storage facilities, then taken to local recycling centers and fraudulently redeemed for California Redemption Value.  On May 4, 2016, agents, with the assistance of CalRecycle staff, executed search warrants at the locations listed below and made the following discoveries:

    Nova Storage - 5951 Firestone Blvd., South Gate·        

    • Agents witnessed four people unloading used beverage containers from a J&A Trucking trailer; four people, including the truck driver, were detained.
    • The truck driver told agents he had picked up the material in Albuquerque, N.M., on May 3, 2016.
    • Agents arrested Francisco Flores, 59, of Los Angeles after determining he was the head of the organization and had hired the others to work for him.                 

    South Gate Public Self Storage - 5911 Firestone Blvd., South Gate     

    • Agents witnessed seven people unloading used beverage containers from a Bustillos Express trailer; eight people, including the truck driver, were detained.
    • The truck driver told agents he had picked up the material in Phoenix, Ariz., on May 3, 2016.
    • Agents determined four of the people were being paid by Francisco Flores to unload the materials and deliver them to local recycling centers.
    • Agents arrested Guillermo Chavez, 62, of Anaheim after determining he was the leader of a second smuggling ring who hired others to unload and redeem out-of-state material.

    Agents searched a total of 18 storage units at the two locations and seized 35,479 pounds of aluminum used beverage containers worth an estimated $70,958 in potential CRV. They also seized 9,125 pounds of plastic used beverage containers worth an estimated $11,406 in potential CRV. At a hearing on May 11, 2016, Flores pleaded guilty to charges of felony recycling fraud and was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay $800,000 in restitution. Chavez pleaded guilty to grand theft and was sentenced to four months in jail and $225,000 in restitution.

    At a Glance: CalRecycle’s Fraud Prevention Efforts

    California’s Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act incentivizes recycling through a CRV fee paid by California consumers at the time of purchase and refunded upon return of the empty beverage containers to recycling centers certified by CalRecycle to refund CRV. Since the fee is not paid on beverages purchased outside the state, those containers are not eligible for CRV redemption.

    In addition to CalRecycle’s interagency agreements with CDOJ and CDFA, CalRecycle aggressively combats fraud and illicit payments through enhanced precertification training of recycling center owners; probationary reviews of recycling centers; oversight of certified processors; monitoring and tracking of imported materials; risk assessment of daily claims for reimbursement; application of prepayment controls; and post-payment reviews and investigations.

    5/26/2016

    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on May 26, 2016

  • Recycling Fraud Arrest: Same Trucking Company, New Driver

    New Evolution Trucking busted twice in three months

    Media Contact: Lance Klug
    (916) 341-6293 | lance.klug@calrecycle.ca.gov
    April 7, 2016
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) is announcing the arrest of a Los Angeles truck driver on charges of attempted grand theft and felony recycling fraud. The arrest marks the second time in three months that a driver operating a New Evolution Trucking vehicle has been caught illegally transporting used beverage containers into California from Nevada in an attempt to defraud the California Redemption Value Fund.

    “CalRecycle’s enforcement partners with the California Department of Justice, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the California Highway Patrol continue to ratchet up the pressure on these organized recycling fraud rings,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “With each bust, our investigators learn more about these criminal enterprises, and they will continue to face the consequences of their actions.”

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    On Feb. 16, agents with the California Department of Justice’s Recycling Fraud Team conducted an investigation into a North Las Vegas storage yard with a history of trafficking used beverage containers into California. At 4:25 p.m., agents observed a white semi-truck labeled “New Evolution Trucking” enter the storage yard. The truck and trucking company had been known to illegally transport used beverage containers in the past. Agents followed the truck as it departed at 10:42 p.m. and requested assistance from CHP after the driver took a route which would avoid the CDFA border checkpoint in Yermo.

    Carlos Flores, 36, of Los Angeles was stopped off I-15 in Barstow at 2:20 a.m. on Feb. 17. Flores stated he did not have the bill of lading or Imported Material Report required to transport used beverage containers into California. Flores was arrested, and his 53-foot tractor-trailer was impounded. A subsequent check of the materials inside revealed 7,260 pounds of aluminum and 3,360 pounds of plastic used beverage containers with a potential California Redemption Value of $15,464. Flores was released on his own recognizance and is awaiting arraignment at the San Bernardino County Superior Court.

    CDOJ investigates and prosecutes criminal cases on behalf of CalRecycle, which has administrative authority over the state’s beverage container recycling program. In addition to CalRecycle’s interagency agreements with CDOJ and CDFA, CalRecycle aggressively combats fraud and illicit payments through enhanced precertification training of recycling center owners; probationary reviews of recycling centers; oversight of certified processors; monitoring and tracking of  imported materials; risk assessment of daily claims for reimbursement; application of prepayment controls; and post-payment reviews and investigations.

    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Apr 7, 2016