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California Family Accused of Recycling Fraud Scheme Worth Millions, Facing Possible Prison Time

1690563150 Recycling Fraud Arizona Family

A California family that amassed millions of dollars through recycling cans and bottles is now facing serious allegations and multiple felony charges that could result in prison time.

State prosecutors filed a complaint accusing eight family members of defrauding the state by transporting used bottles and cans from Arizona and recycling them in California over an eight-month period. The recycling operation generated a staggering $7.6 million in earnings for the family, according to state officials. Moreover, investigators uncovered an additional hoard of “illegally imported beverage containers” and more than $1 million.

“California’s recycling program is funded by consumers, and helps protect our environment and our communities,” California attorney general Rob Bonta said in a statement on Tuesday. “Those who try to undermine its integrity through criminal operations will be held accountable.”

According to the complaint, the family’s scheme involved exploiting the California Beverage Container Recycling Program. The program, which is administered by CalRecycle, offers a California Redemption Value (CRV) fee that incentivizes recycling with a 5- or 10-cent return on eligible beverage containers at privately owned centers. However, only materials from California are eligible for redemption under this program. Notably, Arizona lacks a comparable program.

Related: California Woman Arrested For $60 Million Postal Service Scam

The investigation into the suspects began in October 2022 and ultimately revealed that the family, which operates several recycling centers, illegally transported 178 tons of aluminum cans and plastic bottles from Arizona to Riverside County and redeemed $7.6 million in CRV funds.

The criminal complaint against the family members includes charges of unlawfully conspiring to commit grand theft and defrauding the California recycling program on a persistent basis. They are accused of seeking reimbursement for out-of-state containers and containers that had already been redeemed within California, Business Insider reported.

If convicted of felony grand theft, the family members could face up to three years in state prison. The severity of their actions, involving redeeming out-of-state containers to such an extent, might increase the sentence by an additional three years, per Insider.

As of now, the defendants have not been convicted of any crimes, and their legal representation remains undisclosed.

Related: This Dumpster Diver Makes $5,000 a Month Salvaging Designer Items

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