Calif. arrest of ‘Seinfeld’-inspired recycling fraud ringleader who stole millions

The suspect fled the country and was arrested in Phoenix last week.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the arrest of the leader of a multi-state recycling fraud ring who stole $4.3 million from the California Recycling Fund. 

The suspect, who was not named in Bonta’s announcement, had been on the run since March 2022 and had fled the country. 


Driving the picture: According to the Department of Justice, the suspect would control the gathering of empty beverage containers from out of state and work with accomplices to bring them into California and collect money from the recycling fund. 

  • The suspect was charged in Los Angeles County Superior Court with grand theft, conspiracy and illegal importation of out of state empty beverage containers, and a warrant was issued for arrest on March 16, 2022. 
  • The suspect fled the country, but the Department of Justice tracked his or her location and learned that he or she would return to Arizona this month. 
  • State agents worked with Arizona and federal law enforcement partners to arrest the suspect at Phoenix International Airport. 
  • The suspect currently sits in a Phoenix Police Department jail and awaits extradition to California for prosecution. 

What they’re saying: “Let this be a strong warning to anyone seeking to steal from California citizens: We will find you, and we will hold you accountable,” Bonta said. “Fraudulent criminal activity, such as the schemes orchestrated by this individual and others, results in the annual loss of millions of dollars from the California Recycling Fund and negatively impacts our economy. I am thankful to our local and federal law enforcement partners for their work in this investigation.”

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