DOJ Sentences E-Recycler for International Environmental, Counterfeiting Crimes

Owner of Michigan-based company receives jail time and a fine of more than $2 million.

March 27, 2013
Recycling Today Staff
Electronics Legislation & Regulations

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that Mark Jeffrey Glover, the owner of Michigan-based Discount Computers Inc. (DCI), was sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined $10,000 for trafficking in counterfeit goods and services and violating environmental laws. Additionally, DCI was hit with a $2 million fine with close to $11,000 in restitution to his landlord. The DOJ adds that DCI also was sentenced for storing and disposing of hazardous waste without a permit.

DCI, headquartered in Canton, Mich., with warehouses in Maryland Heights, Mo., and Dayton, N.J., operated as a broker of used electronic components, including computers and televisions. DCI resold working and disassembled broken items, selling them for scrap. A large part of DCI’s business involved exporting used cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors to countries in the Middle East and Asia, according to the DOJ.

Egypt prohibits the importation of computer equipment that is more than five years old. To evade the requirement, all three DCI locations replaced the original factory labels on used CRT monitors with counterfeit labels, which reflected a more recent manufacture date, the DOJ alleges. Over a five-year period, DCI sent at least 300 shipments to Egypt, with a total shipment value of at least $2.1 million, constituting more than 100,000 used CRTs monitors. according to the DOJ.

Under federal law it is illegal to knowingly use a counterfeit mark on or in connection with goods and services for the purpose of deceit or confusion. It is also illegal to store and dispose of hazardous waste, which includes certain electronic waste, or e-waste, without a permit. Glass from older CRT monitors is known to contain levels of lead, which is toxic. When deposited in a landfill, the lead can leach out and contaminate drinking water supplies.

“Mr. Glover and his company falsified labels to conceal the age of computer monitors and their potential for hazardous waste,” says Barbara McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. “We hope this case will encourage others to comply with laws designed to protect drinking water and prevent human exposure to toxic waste.”

The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Michigan by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Blackwell. The case was investigated by agents of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Criminal Investigation Division and U.S. Department of Homeland Security–Homeland Security Investigations, Detroit.