A Family Made Millions By Recycling. Now They’re Facing Multiple Felonies

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William Thompson Contributor
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A family has reportedly been accused of defrauding the state of California after allegedly amassing $7.6 million from recycling operations.

Approximately 178 tons of used bottles and cans were allegedly imported from Arizona over an eight-month period and recycled within California, Yahoo News reported.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta claimed investigators seized an additional $1 million and “illegally imported beverage containers,” according to a statement he released.

State prosecutors have now leveled multiple felony charges against eight members of the Southern California family, according to a Riverside County felony complaint filed July 19.

In California, consumers usually pay an extra five to 10 cents in “California Redemption Value” (CRV) when they purchase plastic or aluminum bottles. The fee can be reclaimed by returning items to the many recycling centers found throughout the state, according to Yahoo News. (RELATED: Two Men Plead Guilty To Stealing $1.5 Million In Border Wall Construction Panels)

Arizona, however, lacks such a program, the outlet noted.

Bonta stressed the importance of the state’s recycling program.

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

Recycling fraud has been an ongoing concern in California. Consumer Watchdog reported at least 93 convictions related to the crime between 2010 and 2019.

The family stands accused of engaging in a chronic and ongoing conspiracy to commit felony grand theft against California, per Yahoo News.

If found guilty of defrauding the state’s recycling program, they could face up to three years in state prison, with an additional three-year sentence for the alleged extensive redemption of out-of-state containers, the outlet noted.