The former owner of an Arizona-based company has pleaded guilty to three felony counts of fraud and has been sentenced to five years in state prison for his role in a complex scheme to defraud California’s Beverage Container Recycling Program, according to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint against David Scott Anderson, the former owner of Mission Fiber Group. Anderson received three years in prison for fraud and an additional two years based on a “white-collar enhancement,” which means the case involved more than $500,000 and included a pattern of felony conduct. He pleaded guilty to two counts of $4.24 million each in fraudulent California Redemption Value (CRV) claims, plus attempted fraud of $15.7 million, CalRecycle says.
The criminal case was built upon a 2014 administrative investigation conducted by CalRecycle and brought before the Office of Administrative Law. CalRecycle says it found that for a three-year period ending in 2007, Mission Fiber and Anderson hired a trucking company to import used beverage containers from other states into California. The company and Anderson used a stolen CRV program certification number and address to mask the origin of the out-of-state materials, which cannot legally be redeemed for CRV. Mission Fiber sold the materials to a recycling company that subsequently transferred most of the CRV proceeds to various accounts under the Mission Fiber Group, CalRecycle says.
“This sentencing is the culmination of years of effort by CalRecycle and its law enforcement partners,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline says. “Potential wrongdoers should know we will work relentlessly on cases like this to protect CRV funds for California consumers.”
When Anderson is released from prison, he will serve three years of parole. The court also ordered restitution to CalRecycle in the amount of $9.1 million.
CalRecycle says it is continuing its efforts to protect the recycling fund with increased scrutiny of payment claims. It also is focusing on fraud prevention with enhanced training of recycling center owners as well as regulations that reduce the number of containers a person can bring to a recycling center in a single day. Importers of out-of-state containers, which cannot be redeemed for CRV, must enter the state through California Department of Food and Agriculture inspection stations and complete an imported material report form, the agency says.