Executive Recycling fined for illegal exports

Colorado e-scrap company fined $4.5 million for illegal exporting

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Following last week's sentencing of its former vice president of operations, Executive Recycling has been ordered by a U.S. District Court in Colorado to pay $4.5 million in fines and serve three years on probation for illegally exporting e-scrap and defrauding public, private and government entities. Owner and CEO Brandon Richter was fined more than $75,000 and sentenced to serve 30 months in federal prison.

The sentencing of Richter and former VP of operations Tor Olson, who is free on bond pending an appeal of his 14 month prison sentence and fines, marks the first time U.S. individuals have been convicted on charges of illegally exporting e-scrap.

Executive Recycling and the two executives were originally indicted in September 2011 in a case brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office. The defendants were convicted in December 2012, following an 11-day trial, according to a Justice Department press release.

Executive Recycling was found to have developed an elaborate scheme to sell e-scrap to brokers who “represented foreign buyers or who sold the electronic waste overseas,” the press release states. Between 2005 and 2008, Executive Recycling was responsible for more than 300 exports, more than half of which included CRTs, known to contain lead.

Prosecutors in the case held that Richter and Olson were held responsible for orchestrating the scheme, knowingly deceiving other companies that were told by Executive Recycling the materials would be disposed “properly, right here in the U.S.” Much of the e-scrap was sold to China, among other countries.

“The defendants in this case not only caused actual harm to the environment by shipping electronic waste overseas for dumping, they defrauded their customers by falsely claiming to be disposing of that waste in an environmentally safe way,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.

Executive Recycling, which was based in Englewood, Colorado, ran affiliated locations in Utah and Nebraska. The company website has been shut down and there is no indication the company will attempt to remain in business.

An investigation by the Basel Action Network (BAN) first clued investigators to the company’s vast exports operation. In a statement released by BAN, Executive Director Jim Puckett commended the sentencing while pointing out that Executive Recycling is just one of many companies engaged in the illegal exports of e-scrap. “Sadly, the two Denver executives that made a fortune exploiting the environment and workers' health in developing countries, represent just a sample of the US toxic e-waste flood flowing offshore."

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