Skip to comments.Encino man faces prison for 'Seinfeld'-like scam
Posted on 03/26/2006 8:32:01 AM PST by Cagey
An Encino man pleaded guilty to running a recycling scheme straight out of a "Seinfeld" episode - one that bilked California out of $2.5 million, authorities said Wednesday.
Errol Segal, 61, president of Active Recycling, trucked more than 50 million cans and bottles into California from neighboring states and Mexico, then falsified records to bill the state for the California Redemption Value. The company also billed the state for more than 10 million bogus bottles.
"This is the largest (recycling scheme) my office has done in a long, long time, if ever," Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Garringer said. "We're talking scores, if not hundreds, of loads."
The scheme is reminiscent of a "Seinfeld" episode in which Kramer and Newman try to bring a truckload of cans from New York, which has a 5-cent redemption value, to Michigan, which offers 10 cents.
The plan goes awry when Kramer and Newman spot Jerry's stolen car on the freeway in Ohio. Instead of going to Michigan, Kramer decides to pursue the car.
"We've all seen that `Seinfeld,"' Garringer said. "I can just picture Kramer in the back of the truck, throwing out bags of cans to lighten the load."
In California, the redemption value is much less than Michigan - 2 cents to 4 cents per can or bottle, depending on weight. Consumers are charged the fee when they buy the can, then bring the can to a privately owned recycling center. The center then bills the state for each can.
Segal pleaded guilty Tuesday to mail fraud, conspiring to process ineligible cans and bottles and falsifying paperwork. He faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison and is scheduled to be sentenced July 19.
Seven of Segal's co-conspirators, five from the San Fernando Valley, also pleaded guilty to participating in the scam, as did two recycling companies - Active Recycling and World Wide Recycling. The companies could face $1 million fines.
Only liberals could create a black market in trash.
What is this 'MI, ten cents'?
"Je ne sais quoi" of course is French for "state and local taxes"
Residents of the San Fernando Valley will nod knowingly upon taking a look at the names of the defendents in this story on the same incident: http://www.lawfuel.com/index.php?page=press_releases&handler=focus&pressreleaseid=5793&return=blur-article
"On Monday, another defendant in the case, Arman Balabekyan pleaded guilty.... In August and September of 2005, Artur Melikyan, Nver Nazinyan, Matevos Arzumanyan and Tigran Petrosyan each pleaded guilty to mail fraud and money laundering charges in relation to the scheme.
Also yesterday, Armen Khachatryan pleaded guilty to misprison of a felony for helping to conceal the scheme related to the foreign bottles and cans."
I have an idea. Why don't we just eliminate all this deposit/redemption nonsense? I see just as much junk along the side of the highway now as I did before when there were no deposits on cans and bottles.
Check to the Human Fund bounced?
Sounds like George Costanza was in charge of negotiation. "I think the object of negotiation is to get MORE, not LESS."
"Newman, you magnificent bastard, you did it!"
[Artur Melikyan, Nver Nazinyan, Matevos Arzumanyan, Tigran Petrosyan, Armen Khachatryan.]
I am not from the Valley. Probably Armenians or of Armenian descent. What's your point?
Assuming you're not just baiting....
The eastern San Fernando valley is the home to a large Armenian immigrant population. The vast majority are fine, upstanding citizens. For the few who have chosen a life of crime, fraud... particularly involving government agencies... has been a favorite choice. So, finding a list of fraud suspects whose names all end in 'yan' is an event that occurs with greater frequency than the percentage of similar names occurs in the population at large. For those who live in the area, it's a cliche, not unlike southeast asians owning donut shops.
Before you ask, 'no, it does not indicate anything about the character of Armenian immigrants as a whole.' What it does indicate is that among the small percentage of immigrant populations who have chosen to see America as presenting an opportunity for committing crimes, various populations have chosen different specialties. Frequently the choice of a criminal career involves the one you become aware of, and the one you can find experienced or knowledgable co-conspirators to assist you with. We have large numbers of drug dealers, for example, but they tend to not be Swedes.
A few years back, retail cocaine dealers in the entertainment industry tended to be uniformly anglo junior executives. I found that similarly humorous.
Just trying to see where you were coming from. Some of my relatives from Fresno [sons / daughters of immigrants] have made some rather nasty comments concerning the most recent batch of Armenian immigrants. Short memories I suppose.
For what it is worth, if I could pick my ancestry by association with any particular category of criminal enterprise, I suppose the one that specialized in scamming governments is the one I would choose. :-)
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