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

  • 8 Truck Drivers Busted in Bottle and Can Smuggling Sting

    Out-of-State Container Crackdown Prevents $87,000 in CRV Fraud 

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

    SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery today announced the arrest of eight truck drivers on charges of felony recycling fraud, conspiracy, and attempted grand theft. Agents with the California Department of Justice’s Recycle Fraud Team made the arrests during a three-day sting operation near the Arizona border with San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

    The suspects are accused of smuggling nearly 59,000 pounds of empty beverage containers from Arizona into California in an attempt to defraud the California Redemption Value Fund of more than $87,000. Since consumers outside California do not pay CRV fees on beverage purchases, out-of-state containers are not eligible for CRV redemptions.

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    CalRecycle photos of evidence gathered at a Blythe, Calif. checkpoint during CDOJ’s three-day recycling fraud interdiction operation in January 2018. 

    “Importing out-of-state empty beverage containers for CRV redemption is a crime,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “To prevent this type of fraud, drivers transporting empty bottles and cans into California are required to pass through one of CDFA’s 16 border inspection stations—and CalRecycle is working alongside our law enforcement partners to make sure that happens.”

    In coordination with CalRecycle and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, California DOJ agents conducted the targeted operation from January 23 through January 25, 2018, at CDFA border protection stations in Vidal and Blythe, Calif.

    Under California law, drivers transporting out-of-state empty beverage containers are required to declare the material by submitting an Imported Materials Report at one of 16 CDFA border inspection stations across the state. It is a violation of the law if vehicle operators:

    • Fail to stop at a CDFA border inspection station
    • Willfully avoid a CDFA border inspection station
    • Refuse to allow inspection of loads containing empty beverage containers
    • Knowingly submit false information

    As a result of the California DOJ operations, the following drivers were arrested and booked at the Riverside County Jail: Tim Bristol, 55, of Tucson, Ariz.; Miguel Dominguez-Lopez, 40, of Los Angeles, Calif.; Henry Juarez, 53, of Oxnard, Calif.; Oscar Lopez, 62, of Mesa, Ariz.; Jose Mineros, 45, of Rialto, Calif.; Tony Perez, 21, of Phoenix, Ariz.; Eduardo Pineda Salcedo, 27, of Perris, Calif.; and Eduardo Siordia, 46, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

    Material Seized, Amount, and Potential CRV Value:

    • Aluminum Used Beverage Containers: 38,890 lbs., $62,224.00
    • Plastic Used Beverage Containers, 20,007  lbs., $24,808.68
    • Total: 58,897 lbs., $87,032.68

    In addition to financial consequences, convictions for recycling fraud and related crimes can carry sentences ranging from six months to three years behind bars. 

    CalRecycle’s Beverage Container Recycling Program Fraud Prevention Measures

    In addition to CalRecycle’s interagency agreements with CA DOJ and CDFA, CalRecycle aggressively combats fraud and illicit payments in the Beverage Container Recycling Program through enhanced precertification training of recycling center owners; probationary reviews of recycling centers; oversight of certified processors; monitoring and tracking of imported materials; risk assessments 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 Apr 30, 2018

  • Five Arrested in $80.3 Million Recycling Fraud Conspiracy

    Processor Accused of Adjusting Weight Tickets to Defraud CRV Fund

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

    SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery is announcing Grand Jury indictments and subsequent arrests of five people charged with operating a multi-year recycling fraud scheme from the Recycling Services Alliance (RSA) Corporation in Sacramento County. The owner of RSA and four employees are accused of fraudulently processing out-of-state empty beverage containers for California Redemption Value refunds and conspiring to manufacture fraudulent weight tickets to justify state payments and reimbursement claims.

    “CalRecycle took decisive action to suspend RSA from the Beverage Container Recycling Program in 2016 as our internal audit and the California Department of Justice’s criminal investigation progressed,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “Recycling fraud is a serious crime and CalRecycle will continue to work alongside our law enforcement partners to disrupt these schemes and protect public funds.”  

    Investigation Background

    On May 15, 2015, the California Department of Justice’s Recycling Fraud Team launched an investigation into RSA after receiving information the Sacramento facility was illegally receiving out-of-state material from various recycling centers and conspiring to defraud the Beverage Container Recycling Fund. As CDOJ pursued its criminal inquiry, CalRecycle staff worked alongside the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Division of Measurement Standards and the Sacramento County Agricultural Commissioner’s Weights and Measures Division to investigate the CRV reimbursement claims submitted by RSA and the weight tickets used to support those claims.

    On May 11, 2016, while CDOJ Recycling Fraud Team agents continued the criminal investigation, CalRecycle’s legal staff initiated the informal hearing process to suspend RSA’s participation in the CRV program.  On May 13, 2016, CalRecycle issued a Notice of Suspension to RSA.

    As a result of the investigation, which included search warrants and employee interviews, CDOJ agents and CalRecycle staff uncovered an organized effort to generate inaccurate, altered, or falsified weight tickets to increase CRV reimbursement claims from the fund. CalRecycle concluded that RSA’s CRV claims submitted from January 2012 to December 2015, which totaled $80,331,217.19, were based on fraudulent weight tickets.

    Criminal Indictments

    Grand Jury proceedings from Dec. 4 through Dec. 7, 2017, resulted in the criminal indictments of five suspects on a total of 166 counts, including grand theft, recycling fraud, perjury, and conspiracy. RSA owner Shengchien Tseng, 49, of Cupertino; weighmaster Maximina Perez, 50, of San Leandro; assistant weighmaster Alejandra Lazaro Martinez, 26, of Hayward; assistant weighmaster Veronica Castillo, 35, of Sacramento; and assistant weighmaster Marlene Davalos-Mendez, 28, of Rocklin, were arrested and booked into the Sacramento County Jail.

    The next hearing is scheduled for June 5, 2018, in Sacramento County. The California Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting these cases.        

    At a Glance: CalRecycle’s Recycling Fraud Prevention Measures

    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 Lance Klug on Apr 26, 2018

  • California Counties Find New Use for Old Tires

    CalRecycle Funds Local Projects that Utilize 666,000 Recycled Waste Tires

    SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) recently awarded $410,364 in grants for civil engineering projects in four counties that will use recycled California waste tires in place of conventional construction materials. California generates an estimated 42 million waste tires each year. CalRecycle’s Tire-Derived Aggregate Grant Program promotes the recycling and reuse of California-generated waste tires to keep them out of landfills or illegal dumpsites.

    “The use of TDA in civil engineering projects is a win for California’s environment and its economy,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “Rather than landfill these tires or create stockpiles that can lead to fires and other public health threats, California is making use of a recycled material that has proven to perform well for these types of projects.”

    Tire-derived aggregate is a low-cost, lightweight, and fast-draining product suitable for use in civil engineering applications such as retaining wall backfill, landslide stabilization, and various beneficial uses at landfills (video). The following projects received funding for the third and final TDA grant solicitation of fiscal year 2017-18.

    • Sacramento County: $77,220. Use 3,960 tons of tire-derived aggregate to construct roadways and trenches at the county’s Kiefer Landfill. Project will use approximately 396,000 waste tires. 
    • Santa Barbara County: $158,241. Use 935 tons of tire-derived aggregate for retaining wall repair of  the Ortega Ridge roadway in Summerland. Project will use approximately 93,500 waste tires.
    • Tuolumne County: $120,082. Use 811 tons of tire-derived aggregate for landslide repair project on Italian Bar and Buchanan roads. Project will use approximately 81,100 waste tires. 
    • Riverside County: $54,821. Use 2,735 tons of tire-derived aggregate to construct trenches at 32 sites within the Badlands Landfill in Moreno Valley and Lamb Canyon Landfill in Beaumont. Project will use approximately 95,400 waste tires. 
    • Total: $410,364. Projects will use approximately 666,000waste tires.

    The following projects are recommend for awards should additional funds become available.

    • Riverside County: $102,384. Funding to complete landfill projects described above. Project will use another 178,100 waste tires, approximately.
    • Merced Coounty Regional Waste Management Authority. $106,982. Use 1,463 tons of tire-derived aggregate to construct trenches at the  Highway 59 Landfill. Project will use approximately 146,300 waste tires.
    • Total: $209,366. Projects will use approximately 324,400 waste tires.

    Eligible projects must be located in California and use at least 500 tons (equivalent of 50,000 passenger tires) of California-generated waste tires. Subscribe to CalRecycle’s TDA Grant Program listservfor notifications about funding availability, applicant and project eligibility, and application due dates.

    CalRecycle’s Tire-Derived Aggregate Grant Program is funded through a fee on new tires sold in California

    Posted on In the Loop by CalRecycle Staff on Apr 5, 2018