Sacramento Recycling Company Ordered to Pay Millions in Fraud Scheme

Sacramento Recycling Company Ordered to Pay Millions in Fraud Scheme

Los Angeles sanitation workers clean up trash left in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles on June 8, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

2/22/2024

Updated: 2/22/2024

A Sacramento-based recycling company has been ordered to pay over $140 million for defrauding the state by submitting phony “weight tickets” to earn extra cash, according to a Feb. 20 announcement by the state’s recycling agency.
CalRecycle said Recycling Services Alliance would have to pay $86.6 million in restitution and interest for the fraudulent claims they filed for California Refund Value, a fee on beverage containers that’s refundable through recycling. The penalty is in addition to prior criminal judgments of $53.9 million against the company and its managers.
“This decision sends a message that criminals are held accountable for defrauding California’s Beverage Container Recycling Program, which has kept 491 billion bottles and cans out of our streets and waterways,” CalRecycle Director Rachel Machi Wagoner said in the announcement. “CalRecycle and its enforcement partners aggressively investigate recycling fraud, pursuing the maximum penalties to protect Californians’ money.”
The company was first investigated in 2015 after the California Department of Justice received word of its fraudulent claims, the agency said.
Various law enforcement agencies in the state worked together to determine how the company fabricated the weight tickets, according to the agency, including investigators with the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Sacramento County Agricultural Commissioner’s Weights and Measures Division, which is in charge of verifying devices such as scales, gas pumps, and electric meters.
When investigators started to probe into Recycling Services Alliance nearly a decade ago, the company quickly had its recycler certification revoked, according to the state agency, and the initial fine of over $50 million was dished out by a grand jury indictment in 2017.
California’s recycling program began in 1986 with a refund fee paid during checkout that helps incentivize residents to recycle their empty beverage containers.
Through collaborative efforts since 2010, CalRecycle, the Department of Food and Agriculture and the Justice Department have made 377 arrests for recycling fraud, according to the press release.
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Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

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Rudy Blalock is a Southern California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. Originally from Michigan, he moved to California in 2017, and the sunshine and ocean have kept him here since. In his free time, he may be found underwater scuba diving, on top of a mountain hiking or snowboarding—or at home meditating, which helps fuel his active lifestyle.

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