recycling company Executive Recycling and two of its top executives have been
convicted of multiple federal counts of mail and wire fraud and illegally
exporting hazardous material.
convictions for the Colorado-based company, along with its CEO, Brandon
Richter, and Tor Olson, its former vice president of operations, comes after an 11-day trial that began on Dec. 3, followed by two and a half days for jury
executives and the company were indicted in September of last year as a result of an investigation by
environmental justice group the Basel Action Network (BAN) that also brought
more scrutiny to the issue of illicit exports of used electronics from the
media and the federal government.
Recycling, which also has in Nebraska and Utah, presented itself as a
responsible electronics recycling company that didnâ€™t export the material it
collected from private households, businesses and government entities overseas
jury found that the company and the two executives defrauded government
agencies and private businesses by offering to recycle their used electronics
in compliance with all relevant laws, but instead illegally shipped the
material overseas. Specifically, the jury found that the company and its
executives sent cathode ray tubes (CRTs) to China.
criminal conviction demonstrates that there are no shortcuts to following U.S.
export laws," said Kumar Kibble, special agent in charge of Homeland
Security Investigations in Denver, in a prepared statement. "For years
this company also deceived the public by falsely advertising an environmentally
friendly U.S. recycling business plan. Instead, it regularly exported obsolete
and discarded electronic equipment with toxic materials to third-world
countries, and took actions to illegally hide these practices from government
to a statement from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Executive
Recycling appeared as the exporter of record in over 300 shipments from the
U.S. between 2005 and 2008. About 160 of the exported cargo containers
contained a total of more than 100,000 CRTs.
records state that the jury did not convict the company nor its executives on
all counts of fraud. Records also show that while Executive Recycling was found
guilty on two counts of illegally exporting e-scrap, Richter and Olson were
each found guilty on only one count. Additionally, Richter was found guilty of altering
documents, while Olson was found not guilty of the same charge. Sentencing for
Richter and Olson will take place in April.
Recycling Inc. as a corporation faces a $500,000 fine for each of the seven
wire fraud counts, or twice the gross gain or loss. The company also faces a
fine of $50,000 for each day it did not file the proper notification to export
hazardous waste, or twice the gross gain or loss. The company was also slapped
with a fine of $500,000, or twice the gross gain or loss, for illegally
statement, BAN cheered the convictions, but argued that the case highlights
that more need to be done to halt the shipment of e-scrap to the developing
Recycling was caught this time,â€ť Jim Puckett, the organizationâ€™s executive
director, said in a prepared statement. â€śBut it has been almost impossible for
the government to prosecute this kind of very common activity due to a lack of
statement claimed that federal laws on exporting hazardous material are vague
and ineffective, making this case difficult to prosecute. BAN also argues that
the case highlights why Congress needs to pass legislation that would ban the
export of used electronics to developing countries.