Electronics recycler arrested in fraud scheme

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Northern District of Illinois, has announced the arrest of Brian Brundage, the former owner of Intercon Solutions Inc. and the current owner of EnviroGreen Processing LLC, over allegations that he operated a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme involving the illegal landfilling or reselling of potentially hazardous electronic scrap.

According to an 11-count indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago, Brundage, through both companies, caused thousands of tons of electronic scrap and other potentially hazardous materials to be landfilled, resold to customers that shipped the materials overseas or stockpiled in his facilities. The indictment claims that Brundage fraudulently misrepresented to customers that the materials had been disassembled and recycled in an environmentally sound manner.

Brundage was arrested Dec. 19, 2016.

The indictment includes five counts of income tax evasion, four counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud and seeks forfeiture of $10 million in cash.

According to the indictment, several private companies and governmental entities hired Chicago Heights-based Intercon and Gary, Indiana-based EnviroGreen for the disassembly, recycling or destruction of electronic scrap and other materials. The customer agreements stipulated Intercon and EnviroGreen would handle materials in an environmentally sound manner, without landfilling or exporting and without reselling the materials in whole form.

Unbeknownst to customers, according to the DOJ, for more than a decade, Intercon and EnviroGreen knowingly sold the electronic scrap and other materials, including potentially hazardous glass and batteries, to vendors whom Brundage knew would ship the materials overseas. Some of the materials contained cathode ray tubes (CRTs), the indictment states.

The indictment further alleges that Brundage caused multiple tons of CRT glass and other potentially hazardous materials to be destroyed in environmentally unsafe ways and later landfilled, all in direct contravention to Intercon’s public representations of its recycling practices.

The tax charges relate to his efforts to evade paying thousands of dollars in income taxes, according to the indictment.

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.