Attorney General Becerra Files Criminal Charges Against Five Individuals in $80.3 Million Recycling Fraud Scheme
SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced the arrest and grand jury indictment of five individuals for defrauding the state’s beverage container recycling program by creating fraudulent weight tickets for California Redemption Value (CRV) refunds. The five defendants personally benefitted from a recycling fraud in Sacramento County that cost the California Redemption Value fund $80.3 million.
California’s beverage container recycling program, administered by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), encourages recycling through a 5- to 10-cent deposit on CRV-eligible beverage containers. Consumers can redeem their containers at privately owned recycling centers certified by CalRecycle. Recycling centers are responsible for ensuring that only eligible bottles and cans that are sold in California, where the CRV deposit was paid, are redeemed.
“In California, those who criminally misuse public programs for personal gain will be held accountable. Recycling Services Alliance (RSA) Corporation owner Shengchien Tseng and employees Maximina Perez, Alejandra Lazaro-Martinez, Veronica Castillo, and Marlene Davalos-Mendez are going to learn that the hard way,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The Beverage Container Recycling Program is a public program that we can be proud of – it betters our environment and our society.”
The 166-count criminal indictment alleges that the five defendants conspired to manufacture fraudulent weight tickets at Tseng's RSA corporation, a CalRecycle certified redemption center in Sacramento County. The defendants allegedly received out-of-state material from various recycling centers and engaged in an organized effort to illegally increase reimbursement claims from the CRV fund. The investigation uncovered $80.3 million in fraudulent claims, based on inaccurate, altered, or falsified weight ticket claims.
The investigation was a joint effort involving the California Department of Justice’s Recycle Fraud Program and CalRecycle, along with the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Division of Measurement Standards and the Sacramento County Agricultural Commissioner’s Weights and Measure Division.
It is important to note that a criminal indictment contains charges that are only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
A copy of the indictment is attached to the electronic version of this release at: oag.ca.gov/news.