Recycling Executive Guilty of Fraud and Tax Offenses in Scheme to Landfill and Re-Sell Potentially Hazardous Waste
CHICAGO — The owner of two recycling businesses illegally landfilled potentially hazardous electronic waste as part of a scheme to re-sell the materials and avoid paying income taxes, according to his guilty plea in federal court in Chicago.
BRIAN BRUNDAGE owned Intercon Solutions Inc. and EnviroGreen Processing LLC, which purported to recycle electronic waste on behalf of corporate and governmental clients. Brundage represented to the clients that the materials would be disassembled and recycled in an environmentally sound manner. In reality, from 2005 to 2016, Brundage caused thousands of tons of e-waste and other potentially hazardous materials to be landfilled, stockpiled, or re-sold at a profit to companies who shipped the materials overseas, according to a plea agreement filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Brundage admitted evading $743,984 in federal taxes by concealing the income he earned from re-selling the e-waste and from paying himself funds that he falsely recorded as Intercon business expenses. Brundage spent the purported expenses for his own personal benefit, including wages for a nanny and housekeeper, jewelry purchases, and payments to the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind., the plea agreement states.
Brundage, 46, of Dyer, Ind., pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of wire fraud, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and one count of tax evasion, which is punishable by up to five years. U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow set sentencing for Feb. 27, 2019, at 2:00 p.m.
The guilty plea was announced by John C. Kocoras, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Brad Ostendorf, Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago; Gabriel L. Grchan, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division; James M. Gibbons, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; and Carol Fortine Ochoa, Inspector General of the U.S. General Services Administration. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean J.B. Franzblau and Kelly Greening of the Northern District of Illinois, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Crissy Pellegrin of the EPA.
According to the plea agreement, Brundage caused employees of Chicago Heights-based Intercon and Gary, Ind.-based EnviroGreen to sell some of the e-waste and other materials to vendors whom Brundage knew would ship the materials overseas. Some of the materials contained Cathode Ray Tubes, which are glass video display components of computer and television monitors, and which contain potentially hazardous amounts of lead. Brundage admitted causing multiple tons of CRT glass and other potentially hazardous materials to be destroyed in environmentally unsafe ways and later landfilled.