On July 26th, 2023

Family Charged in $7.6 Million Recycling Scheme

“Stealing from California’s beverage container recycling program is stealing from California consumers and unlawfully depletes a fund which encourages recycling bottles and cans in our state to keep them from being deposited into landfills.  Thank you to California Department of Justice special agents who investigate this illegal activity.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona

RIVERSIDE COUNTY – On July 25, 2023, the California Department of Justice and CalRecycle announced that eight family members who run recycling centers in Riverside County face felony charges in connection to a $7.6 million, multi-state recycling fraud investigation. California DOJ agents believe the suspects illegally smuggled 178 tons of empty beverage containers from Arizona into Riverside County to defraud California’s Beverage Container Recycling Program.

“California will not tolerate fraud against our recycling deposit system that has kept nearly a half-trillion bottles and cans from being littered or landfilled in our state,” said CalRecycle Director Rachel Machi Wagoner. “CalRecycle’s partnership with the California Department of Justice (DOJ) is working to stop criminals and protect funds that belong to Californians.”

“California’s recycling program is funded by consumers and helps protect our environment and our communities,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Those who try to undermine its integrity through criminal operations will be held accountable. I am grateful to my team of diligent investigators, and to our partners at CalRecycle, for uncovering this fraud scheme and for working together to protect funds that belong to California consumers who recycle.”

In 2022, DOJ launched an investigation into several Riverside County recycling centers. During an eight-month period, agents found the operators illegally redeemed $7.6 million on aluminum cans and plastic bottles smuggled from Arizona to sites in Riverside County.

DOJ’s Bureau of Investigation Recycle Fraud Team filed charges against the eight defendants and served search warrants on six locations, which resulted in the seizure of $1,061,499 and additional material.

A copy of the criminal complaint can be found here.


California Statewide
Law Enforcement Association

2600 River Plaza Drive
Sacramento, CA 95833 916.696.6023
Southern Office:
5762 Bolsa Ave, Suite 104
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Member Association of PORAC


CSLEA Board and OfficersAffiliatesCSLEA Foundation

News Center

Monthly NewsletterCalendarVideos

Contact CSLEA


Legal StaffAdmonishment StatementLegal Defense FundKnow Your Rights VideosLegal FAQLegal Representation CommitteePeace Officer Bill of Rights


CSLEA Legislative UpdateLegislative Request FormLegislationPAC EndorsementsGeneral Election Results


Join CSLEAAddress Update
Member Services StaffMembership ServicesMember BenefitsScholarshipCSLEA DiscountsSupervisors & Managers
© Copyright  - California Statewide Law Enforcement Association