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E-cycler convicted of illegal exports

Keywords: Tags  Brandon Richter, Tor Olson, Executive Recycling, electronics recycling, BAN, Basel Action Network, Jim Puckett, Kumar Kibble CRTs

NEW YORK — An electronic waste recycler and two of its executives have been convicted by a federal jury on several counts related to illegally exporting electronic waste.

Englewood, Colo.-based Executive Recycling Inc. and the two executives—owner and chief executive officer Brandon Richter and vice president Tor Olson—were indicted in September on 16 counts alleging that they illegally exported more than 100,000 cathode ray tubes (CRTs) between 2005 and 2009 (, Oct. 11).

The indictments followed a 30-month investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations division and the Environmental Protection Agency. The federal agencies began the probe after CBS’ 60 Minutes aired a report titled "The Wasteland."

A jury in U.S. District Court in Colorado deliberated for two and a half days before returning convictions on some, but not all, of the counts in the indictment.

The company faces a fine of $500,000 per count on seven counts of wire fraud, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The company also was convicted on one count of failure to file notification of intent to export hazardous waste, which carries a penalty of $50,000 per day of violation, and one count of exportation contrary to law, which carries a $500,000 fine.

Individually, Richter and Olson were each found guilty of one count of exportation contrary to law, while Richter also was found guilty on an additional count related to altering documents.

The company and the two executives are scheduled to be sentenced in April.

"This criminal conviction demonstrates that there are no shortcuts to following U.S. export laws," said Kumar Kibble, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in Denver. "For years, this company also deceived the public by falsely advertising an environmentally friendly U.S. recycling business plan. Instead, it regularly exported obsolete and discarded electronic equipment with toxic materials to third-world countries, and took actions to illegally hide these practices from government officials."

Jim Puckett, executive director of environmental group Basel Action Network, said that his organization hopes the conviction "sends a very strong message to business and the public that they should only use the most responsible recyclers."

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