The owner of an Englewood, Colorado, electronics recycling company who was sending electronics waste overseas instead of recycling domestically has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in a federal prison.
The owner of Executive Recycling Inc., Brandon Richter, had been telling clients that the waste was being recycled domestically and according to EPA regulations, the Denver Business Journal reports. Richter intends to appeal his conviction. Victims that were defrauded include Broomfield, Boulder, El Paso and Jefferson counties, as well as the Denver Newspaper Agency.
Richter also hid export documentation from the EPA. Material on the company’s website talked about the dangers of disposing e-waste improperly and represented themselves as having an “extensive knowledge of current EPA requirements.” Clients were told personally by Richter that materials would be recycled domestically.
Richter and his company were fined $4.5 million and will have to pay a $7,500 fine and more than $70,000 in restitution. Richter was ordered to report to a Bureau of Prisons facility within 15 days of designation.
The company’s former vice president of operations, Tor Olson, was sentenced to serve 14 months in prison, pay a $5,000 fine, and pay over $15,000 in restitution. The defendants were convicted in December 2012 of multiple counts of mail and wire fraud and environmental crimes related to the illegal disposal of electronic waste, smuggling, and obstruction of justice, following an 11-day trial.
A significant portion of electronic waste collected by the defendants were cathode ray tubes (CRTs), the glass video display component of an electronic device, usually a computer or television monitor, and are known to contain lead. The defendants regularly negotiated the sale of electronic waste to brokers who represented foreign buyers or who sold the electronic waste overseas. The foreign buyers often paid the defendants directly. To transport the electronic waste, the defendants used shipping cargo containers which were loaded at the company’s facility. The containers were then transported by rail to domestic ports for export overseas, according to the US Attorney’s Office of the District of Colorado.
Executive Recycling appeared as the exporter of record in over 300 exports from the US between 2005 and 2008. Approximately 160 of these exported cargo containers contained a total of more than 100,000 CRTs.
The Attorney’s Office said the defendants knowingly devised and intended to devise a scheme to defraud various business and government entities who wanted to dispose of their electronic waste, and to obtain these business and government entities’ money by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses. Part of the scheme that the defendants falsely represented was that they would dispose of all electronic waste, whether hazardous or not, in an environmentally friendly manner. Specifically, the defendants falsely represented that the defendant company recycled electronic waste “properly, right here in the US.” They also stated that they would not send the electronic waste overseas.