On April 15th, 2021

California DOJ Agents Arrest Six in Recycling Fraud Scheme in Southern California

SACRAMENTO – On April 14, 2021, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and CalRecycle announced the results of a months-long recycling fraud investigation in San Bernardino County.

DOJ agents arrested:

  • Laszlo Castro Lencse,
  • Antonio Iezza, Jr.,
  • Jaime Mosaquites Diaz,
  • Eligio Ortega Dominguez,
  • Geovany Ortega Narcisco,
  • and Gonzalo Cachu Lucatero

for their alleged involvement in a multi-milliondollar fraud scheme to bring thousands of pounds of ineligible empty beverage containers collected from Las Vegas casinos into California in order to redeem them for cash.

As of April 14th, a seventh suspect, Ivan Dominguez Lopez, remains at large.

In addition to the arrests, searches were conducted at multiple locations allegedly involved in the fraud, including the third largest recycling processor in the state, West Coast Waste. More than $300,000 in cash was seized during the search of West Coast Waste.

“The CRV program in California encourages beverage container recycling but is only meant for recyclable containers purchased in California in which consumers have paid into the program at the time they purchased their beverages,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA President Alan Barcelona.  “Bringing in out of state containers is stealing from this program and costs California money.”

During the course of the four-month investigation, DOJ's Division of Law Enforcement uncovered a scheme in which the defendants allegedly illegally imported thousands of pounds of beverage containers, collected from Las Vegas casinos to recycling centers in Southern California for redemption under the CRV program. In addition, defendants allegedly filed fraudulent CRV claims for nonexistent empty beverage containers and sold previously redeemed empty beverage containers back into the marketplace to be re-redeemed.

Each of the defendants have been charged with conspiracy, grand theft, and recycling fraud. Antonio Iezza, Jr. faces an additional charge of presenting false claims for payment, and Eligio Ortega Dominguez is additionally charged with receipt of stolen property.

A copy of the complaint can be found here.

 

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