An investigation involving the illegal redemption of bottles and cans that were transferred from Arizona to California has resulted in the arrest of five people. Approximately $14 million was refunded as a part of the allegations in this plot. It is illegal for containers from outside the state to take part in the recycling program and derive benefit from the deposit – 5 or 10 cents – since the charge was not added to the cost of the container when it was purchased.
The five people were indicted on numerous charges including fraud and grand theft. It is currently unknown how many containers were redeemed in this scheme, but with the amount of money from the enterprise, it is an estimated 250 million bottles or cans. This investigation involved the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, alternatively referred to as CalRecycle.
The indictment was in March and its details were announced in early May. Agents for the Department of Justice had seen trucks being loaded with the containers in Phoenix in April of 2014. The truck was brought to Southern California where its contents were transferred to different vehicles and taken to a recycling center for the refund. The scheme is believed to have taken place between 2012 and 2014.
While it might not sound serious, charges of fraud can result in significant penalties. Even something as seemingly innocuous as the returning of cans and bottles can lead to charges if there are allegations of illegality. Speaking to a legal professional with experience in criminal defense in California is imperative when facing these charges.
Source: “California Officials: $14M Arizona Recycling Fraud Uncovered,” May 8, 2015