Shades of Kramer? Six charged with defrauding California recycling fund

By Jeremy Carroll
Assistant Managing Editor

Published: October 1, 2013 3:46 pm ET
Updated: October 1, 2013 3:50 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Public Policy, Sustainability, Legal

It’s a story straight out of “Seinfeld,” but officials in California are not laughing.

Six people have been accused of defrauding the state’s beverage container law by taking loads of plastic bottles and aluminum cans from Nevada and returning them for a cash refund in California. In total, officials said the group defrauded California’s Beverage Container Recycling Fund by $305,280.

Gerardo Gomez-Vasquez and Magdalena Hernandez-Sebastian, a married couple, are accused of purchasing the plastic and aluminum from Nevada recycling centers, sorting through them in a storage unit and trucking them to California for the deposit.

Officials said they used a 26-foot box truck to take the bottles and cans to California.

“Defrauding the recycling fund is stealing from the state of California and its citizens, and we are taking aggressive steps to thwart those who would attempt it,” said CalRecycle Director Caroll Mortensen in a statement. “We take fraud very seriously and work side by side with the [Justice Department] and other state and local agencies to catch these criminals and punish them to the fullest extent of the law.”

Argelio Hernandez-Torres, Ludin Rosales-Valladares, Elfego Gonzalez-Ramos and Luis Aguirre-Alarcon delivered the truckloads of bottles and cans to California, officials said. They were taken to recycling centers in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley areas of California.

Officials said they watched the trucks be loaded with plastic and aluminum and followed it to Sacramento. The truck had 3,000 pounds of aluminum and 1,000 pounds of plastic bottles in it, officials said.

Hernandez-Torres remains at large, but the other five were arrested and charged with conspiracy, grand theft and recycling fraud, CalRecycle said. All face felony charges.

A total of five tons of recyclables were seized in Nevada following the arrests.

California refunds consumers 5 cents for containers smaller than 24 ounces and 10 cents for containers that are larger than 24 ounces.

California officials believe out-of-state returns make up $30 million to $50 million worth of payments out of the approximately $900 million it pays out annually.


Comments

Shades of Kramer? Six charged with defrauding California recycling fund

By Jeremy Carroll
Assistant Managing Editor

Published: October 1, 2013 3:46 pm ET
Updated: October 1, 2013 3:50 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

FTC warns bag makers to take care before making biodegradeability claims

October 23, 2014 12:30 pm ET

Makers of oxodegradable or oxo-biodegradable plastic bags should consider themselves on notice, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.    More

Image

Packaging specialist Amcor hits sustainability goals ahead of schedule

October 23, 2014 11:15 am ET

Global packaging company Amcor Ltd. has achieved its waste reduction goals two years ahead of schedule, according to the company's new sustainability ...    More

Image

Simple lightweighting in packaging, caps not so simple anymore

October 22, 2014 4:16 pm ET

The days of finding simple ways to remove additional weight — and costs — from plastic bottles are over, according to one expert.    More

Image

Unilever uses foaming in new bottle

October 22, 2014 1:35 pm ET

Foaming is a good alternative to thin-walling for reducing plastic use in consumer goods packaging, according to a Unilever plastics expert.    More

Image

Bioplastics, design join forces for SOMA

October 21, 2014 11:33 am ET

A polylactic acid made by Germany's Fraunhofer UMSICHT is a key part of the Soma home water filtration system, which its developers call the “fi...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events