A Michigan e-scrap broker is facing up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 after pleading guilty to smuggling CRTs and other used electronics abroad.
In an agreement reached between the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) and Lip Bor Ng, also known as Paul Wu, Ng pleaded guilty to knowingly shipping containers of electronics labeled as plastics and metals to Hong Kong and China.
“He falsely declared the commodities as plastic and metal scrap, when, in fact, they contained various types of used electronics and computer components, including cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitors,” the announcement from the DOJ reads. “CRT monitors can be considered hazardous waste under certain conditions and thus their export is regulated by EPA.”
It is illegal to ship potential hazardous material abroad without the consent of the EPA and the “receiving country,” the DOJ statement pointed out.
Ng faces a maximum prison sentence of five years and a potential fine of $250,000, and sentencing is scheduled to take place July 14.
Records filed with Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs indicate Ng’s Canton, Michigan-based company L&Y Enterprise was incorporated in July 2010. Mr. Ng is listed as president and owner of L&Y Enterprise. The company remains an active corporation in Michigan.
Ng is also listed as the owner of a property management company, Ridgeland Properties, founded in 2004.
In the plea agreement, three specific instances are singled out as indicative of Ng’s wider smuggling operation, which was believed to span 2010 and 2011. Three shipments were intercepted in Long Beach, California and found to carry numerous electronics, including a total of 121 CRT monitors, bound for Hong Kong and China. The shipments were labeled as containing non-hazardous plastics and metals.
It is not clear how much material Ng managed to export between 2010 and 2011. It is also unclear where and how Ng received end-of-life electronics.
Jennifer Blackwell, who serves as a trial attorney for the Environmental Crimes section of the DOJ, could not be reached for comment.