Recycling Executive Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison for Scheming to Landfill and Re-Sell Potentially Hazardous Waste
CHICAGO — A recycling executive has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for illegally landfilling potentially hazardous electronic waste as part of a scheme to re-sell the materials and avoid paying income taxes.
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. Brundage evaded $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 a casino in Hammond, Ind.
Brundage, 47, of Schererville, Ind., pleaded guilty last year to one count of wire fraud and one count of tax evasion. U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow on Thursday imposed the three-year prison sentence and ordered Brundage to pay more than $1.2 million in restitution to his victims.
The sentence was announced by John C. Kocoras, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jennifer Lynn, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division; 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 Jeffrey Ryan, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Inspector General, Great Lakes Regional Investigations Office. The Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department provided valuable assistance in the investigation. The government was 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.
Brundage admitted in a plea agreement that he caused employees of Chicago Heights-based Intercon and Gary, Ind.-based EnviroGreen to sell some of the e-waste and other materials to vendors who 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.
“Improper management of cathode ray tubes can pose risk to human health and the environment, as they contain significant quantities of lead,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Lynn. “This case demonstrates that EPA and our law enforcement partners are committed to protecting the environment and ensuring that companies follow the law.”
“The GSA Office of Inspector General will aggressively pursue contractors who make false representations in order to obtain federal business,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Ryan.
“This sentence should serve as a reminder that HSI will continue to work with its federal, state and local partners to pursue offenders who endanger others by engaging in fraud and deceit,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Gibbons.