California authorities have arrested six people in connection with a large-scale beverage container recycling scheme.
Laszlo Castro Lencse, Antonio Iezza, Jr., Jaime Mosaquites Diaz, Eligio Ortega Dominguez, Geovany Ortega Narcisco, and Gonzalo Cachu Lucatero were arrested and charged with conspiracy, grand theft, and recycling fraud, according to an April 14 news release from CalRecycle. A seventh suspect, Ivan Dominguez Lopez, is still wanted in connection with the fraud scheme.
Authorities say that the multi-state recycling fraud ring was discovered during a four month investigation during which the suspects allegedly brought truckloads of out-of-state empty beverage containers to storage facilities and recycling centers in Southern California to fraudulently redeem the material. The suspects are specifically accused of cashing in empty beverage containers smuggled into California from Las Vegas casinos. Authorities also accuse the group of selling previously redeemed bottles and cans back into the system for re-redemption.
Since consumers outside California do not pay California Redemption Value (CRV) deposits on beverage purchases, imported empty beverage containers are not eligible for CRV redemption.
As part of the investigation, $300,000 in cash was seized from California recycling processor West Coast Waste Industries S.A., Inc.
“California does not tolerate attempts to defraud the Beverage Container Recycling Program of deposits that rightfully belong to California consumers,” CalRecycle Director Rachel Machi Wagoner said. “CalRecycle will continue to work alongside our law enforcement partners within the California Department of Justice to protect money that belongs to Californians.”
Iezza, Jr. has additionally been charged with presenting false claims for payment. CalRecycle revoked the certification for Iezza, Jr.’s company West Coast Waste Industries S.A., Inc.
Dominguez was also additionally charged with receipt of stolen property.