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
Englewood, Colo.-based Executive
Recycling Inc. and the two executivesowner and chief
executive officer Brandon Richter and vice president Tor
Olsonwere indicted in September on 16 counts alleging
that they illegally exported more than 100,000 cathode ray
tubes (CRTs) between 2005 and 2009 (
amm.com, Oct. 11).
The indictments followed a
30-month investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcements 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
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