Watch CBS News

Riverside family charged with defrauding CalRecycle out of $7.6 million

CBS News Live
CBS News Los Angeles Live

A Riverside County family is accused of smuggling nearly tons of aluminum cans and plastic bottles to defraud California out of millions of dollars in a recycling scheme. 

"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.  

According to the California Department of Justice, eight family members ran this recycling fraud scheme over an eight-month period. 

Prosecutors claimed the relatives brought in 178 tons of aluminum cans and plastic bottles from Arizona and processed them through different recycling centers they operated in Riverside County. In total, the suspects redeemed about $7.6 million from the CalRecyle 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.  

The California Beverage Container Recycling program offers 5 or 10 cents per can or bottle returned to a recycling center. Since California consumers subsidize the program, only material from the state is eligible for the small return. 

Authorities seized over $1 million and some beverage containers while serving search warrants. 

The eight family members have been charged with multiple charges of recycling fraud, grand theft and conspiracy.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.