Indiana recycler charged with multimillion-dollar fraud for sending e-waste to landfills
- Brian Brundage, owner of Indiana-based EnviroGreen Processing, was arrested on Dec. 19 for allegedly running fraudulent electronics recycling businesses for more than a decade. He has been charged with five counts of income tax evasion, four counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
- According to an indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago, Brundage "fraudulently misrepresented to his customers that the materials had been disassembled and recycled in an environmentally sound manner." This included sending material to landfills and selling hazardous material to vendors he knew would ship it overseas.
- The indictment is seeking the forfeiture of $10 million in cash. Each count of income tax evasion is punishable by up to five years in prison. The wire fraud and mail fraud counts each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Prior to starting EnviroGreen, Brundage also owned Intercon Solutions Inc. and the two companies collectively serviced numerous corporate and government clients over the years. High profile names have included Texas Instruments, Tribune Co. (now Tribune Media) and the Department of Energy. Based on this indictment it would seem that many of the devices from these companies were either shipped overseas or the CRT glass contained within was improperly buried in landfills.
In 2011, the Basel Action Network called out Intercon for shipping potentially hazardous electronic scrap to Hong Kong. Intercon denied this and unsuccessfully sued BAN for defamation in 2012. Yet according to a subsequent BAN report this was an ongoing practice and the indictment states that Brundage destroyed business records in an attempt to cover up his exporting practices.
The economic and environmental challenges of electronics recycling are well-documented, but that doesn't give companies the license to misrepresent their services or capabilities. As seen in the cases of Closed Loop stockpiling CRT glass in multiple states, Total Reclaim illegally exporting devices, and many others, this is an ongoing issue. BAN may not be popular with some in the electronics recycling community, but in this case their watchdog efforts have been vindicated.
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