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

  • Eleven Arrested in Summer Recycling Fraud Stings

     Agents shut down two Reno-to-Sacramento smuggling pipelines

    Media Contact: Lance Klug
    (916) 341-6293
    lance.klug@calrecycle.ca.gov


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Justice has released the findings from two recycling fraud investigations resulting in 11 arrests in the summer of 2016. Each case involved the collection, illegal transport, and fraudulent redemption of out-of-state used beverage containers through the California Redemption Value program.

    “One by one, CalRecycle and its enforcement partners are targeting and dismantling these recycling fraud organizations,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “CalRecycle will not tolerate these smuggling operations to defraud the CRV program of deposits that rightfully belong to California consumers.”

    ———————-

    Wife, Husband, and Family Arrested for Recycling Fraud

    Who: Rocio Zamora, 45, Rio Linda; Santiago Zamora, 53, Rio Linda; Margarita Medrano, 36, Rio Linda; Idelfonso Salas, 36, Rio Linda; Ulises Adame, 28, Rio Linda

    What: Arrested on charges of conspiracy, grand theft, and felony recycling fraud

    When: Aug. 18, 2016 (investigation launched in December 2015)

    On Dec. 15, 2015, agents with CDOJ’s Recycling Fraud Team were conducting an investigation at a recycling center in Reno, Nev., when they observed Rocio and Santiago Zamora loading used beverage containers into a rental truck. Agents followed the truck into California on a route designed to avoid a required stop at the California Department of Food and Agriculture border checkpoint in Truckee.  Agents continued their surveillance to the couple’s residence on 32nd Avenue in Rio Linda and then to a nearby storage facility. The couple was later seen redeeming the plastic and aluminum at recycling centers in Rio Linda and Sacramento.

    Subsequent surveillance operations revealed similar activity and additional storage lockers in Yuba City and Rio Linda. Agents also observed frequent redemptions at nearby recycling centers in the area. The investigation led to the identification of three additional family members, believed to be conspiring to defraud the California Redemption Value program by illegally importing and redeeming out-of-state used beverage containers.

    On Aug. 18, 2016, CDOJ agents served search warrants at the Zamoras’ residence and Yuba City Self Storage on Steward Road. Agents arrested five suspects and seized an assault rifle, two handguns, and a semi-automatic .22-caliber rifle. The Zamoras’ storage locker was found to contain 1,520 pounds of aluminum and 840 pounds of plastic used beverage containers with a potential California Redemption Value of $3,386.

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    Tip Brings Down Recycling Fraud Scheme

    Who: Marco Rodriguez-Montano, 38, Carson City, Nev.; Jose Martinez-Lozano, 49, Fernley, Nev.; Francisco Limon, 61, Reno, Nev.; Juan Valdez, 40, Reno, Nev.; Herlindo Samayoa, 46, Sacramento; Erendida Ramirez, 58, Sacramento.

    What: Arrested on charges of Conspiracy, Grand Theft and Felony Recycling Fraud

    When: June 1 and 2, 2016 (Investigation launched in May 2015) 

    On May 29, 2015, agents with CDOJ’s Recycling Fraud Team launched an investigation after receiving a tip regarding used beverage containers from Nevada recycling centers being transported into California without legally required documentation. Information led agents to facilities in Reno and Fernley, Nev., where they identified Marco Rodriguez-Montano as a primary suspect. Herlindo Samayoa and four other people were identified as co-conspirators in a scheme to defraud the California Redemption Value Fund.

     During the course of the investigation, agents observed multiple loads of used beverage containers being loaded into rented moving trucks in Reno, Nev. The suspects took the material across state lines using routes designed to avoid required stops at the CDFA border checkpoint in Truckee. The used beverage containers were taken to a storage facility on Weyand Drive in Sacramento before winding up at a nearby recycling center.

     On June 1, 2016, CDOJ agents served search warrants at two locations in Sacramento —8585 Weyand Drive and 4226 Barbara St.—and one in Carson City, Nev., at 3250 Banjo Circle. Juan Valdez, Francisco Limon, and Herlindo Samayoa were arrested at the Weyand location, while Marco Rodriguez-Montano was arrested in Carson City. Agents seized 3,580 pounds of aluminum and 2,340 pounds of plastic used beverage containers from the truck and the Weyand storage facility. The material had a potential California Redemption Value of $8,452.

    The following day, agents served a search warrant at the Tepeyac Market on West Main Street in Fernley, Nev., and arrested Jose Martinez-Lozano. A sixth suspect, Erendida Ramirez, was arrested on Sept. 19, 2016.

    ————————

    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.

     The California Department of Justice 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; daily load limits; application of prepayment controls; and post-payment reviews and investigations.

    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Oct 13, 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.”

    image

    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