Attorney General Becerra, CalRecycle Acting Director DaRosa Announce 11 Arrests for Multimillion Dollar Recycling Fraud Scheme
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and CalRecycle Acting Director Ken DaRosa today announced the arrest of and filing of charges against 11 individuals for allegedly defrauding California’s beverage container recycling program by importing ineligible beverage containers sold in Arizona and Nevada to redeem them for the recycling value of such containers sold in California. The 11 defendants are Yajaira Rojas, Isaiah Rojas, Raul Fernandez, Catalina Hernandez, Enrique Morado-Amador, Jaime Bojado Perez, Jose Orozco-Lopez, Selvin Rodriguez, Amnel Ruano, Arturo Reyes and Carlos Grimaldi.
“Our state’s recycling program is subsidized by our consumers and gives back to Californians who take conscious action to recycle,” said Attorney General Becerra. “We won’t allow cheaters to defraud our publicly-funded recycling programs for their selfish gain. My office will continue to hold perpetrators accountable.”
“CalRecycle’s fraud prevention strategies are constantly evolving to protect public funds and make clear that fraudulent CRV redemption schemes will result in arrests, fines, and jail time,” said CalRecycle Acting Director DaRosa. “We are grateful to the California Department of Justice for their collaboration in these enforcement activities.”
The California Redemption Value (CRV) program, our state’s beverage container recycling program administered by CalRecycle, incentivizes recycling at privately-owned centers with a 5- or 10-cent return on eligible beverage containers. California consumers subsidize the CRV program every time they purchase CRV-eligible bottles and cans in the state. Arizona and Nevada do not have a recycling program that provides redemption value for bottles and cans. The illegal redemption of out-of-state beverage containers drains California’s CRV fund. Recycling centers are responsible for ensuring that only eligible bottles and cans sold in California are redeemed.
The four-month investigation of the suspected recycling fraud was led by the California Department of Justice’s Division of Law Enforcement. The investigation resulted in the seizure of 27,653 pounds of empty beverage containers from Los Angeles storage facilities. The scheme is estimated to have defrauded the California Redemption Value fund of more than $2 million. The 11 defendants have been charged with recycling fraud, conspiracy, and grand theft.
It is important to note that a criminal complaint contains charges that are only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.