Electronic Waste “Recycler” Convicted for Illegal Exports

Posted by Caroline Brown

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Two executives of an electronic waste recycling company were convicted in December of smuggling, environmental crimes, mail and wire fraud, and obstruction of justice in conjunction with the illegal export of hazardous waste to China and other countries, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.

Executive Recycling advertised that they would properly recycle used cell phones, computers and other electronic devices collected from individuals and businesses. Instead, they shipped 20 ocean containers full of TVs and computer monitors to Hong Kong. Basel Action Network, a watchdog group focused on the trade of toxic materials, estimates that they made $1.8 million selling the used electronic components to foreign buyers.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have indicted the company, and CEO Brandon Richter and EVP of Operations Tor Olsen are scheduled to be sentenced in April. They could each be sentenced to 20 years in jail and fined up to $250,000.

"This conviction is very welcome, but sadly as we speak, there are many hundreds of other fake recyclers out there that are loading up Asian-bound containers full of our old toxic TVs and computers," said Basel Action Executive Director Jim Puckett in a statement. "Every day about 100 containers of toxic e-waste arrive in the Port of Hong Kong alone. We hope this conviction sends a very strong message to business and the public that they should only use the most responsible recyclers."

Click here to read more about the case and about the illegal toxic dumping problems in China.

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This post was published on January 8, 2013 and updated on October 14, 2015.

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Topics: Export Management, Export Compliance, Export Violations