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Record jail sentence for recycling company director that claimed moped moved 991 waste TVs in one go

The director of a Leeds-based recycling company has received a record jail sentence and faces the seizure of £2.2 million under the Proceeds of Crime Act after fraudulently claiming recycling fees from government backed schemes.

Recycling company director receives record jail sentence for recycling fraud
Terence Solomon Dugbo, of TLC Recycling, was sentenced to seven years and six months in jail last week (15 July), a record for an environmental crime, after a seven-week trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Dugbo, who has previous convictions for fraud and the illegal export of waste, stood accused of falsifying paperwork to make it seem like he had collected and recycled a large amount of electrical waste in order to claim £2.2 million through producer compliance schemes.

After an investigation by the Environment Agency (EA), he was charged with breaching the conditions of his environmental permit and conspiracy to defraud. Due to a previous ban preventing him from acting as a company director until 2017, enforced because of debts from a previous company, he also faced charges of acting as a director while disqualified.

Despite pleading not guilty, the court found Dugbo guilty of all charges. In addition to the jail sentence, the presiding Judge Clarke also extended his disqualification for a further 12 years claiming he was a “risk to the public” and initiated prosecution for Proceeds of Crime, which had been requested by the EA and will seek to enforce the repayment of the £2.2 million illegally acquired by Dugbo.

Sophisticated crime

During the investigation, EA officers found fraudulent paperwork that claimed more than 19,500 tonnes of electrical waste had been collected and recycled by TLC Recycling in 2011. Waste was supposedly taken to the Leeds Reuse Centre, also managed by Dugbo, for treatment.

Other paperwork claimed that TLC Recycling , which has since entered liquidation, was supposedly collecting from addresses that didn’t exist and some waste collection vehicles were reported as collecting from Scotland, England and Northern Ireland on the same date.

Some of the mentioned vehicles did not exist and others were noted as carrying heavier loads than was possible. According to the paperwork, a moped was supposed to have carried 991 televisions and 413 fridges between Dugbo’s businesses on one trip.

The individual weights of specific electrical items were also exaggerated to increase the weight of waste the company supposedly dealt with: fax machines were logged as weighing 47 kilogrammes, and drills 80 kilogrammes.

The paperwork showed that the company had not handled the reported amounts of waste and therefore was not entitled to receive the recycling fees it had claimed.

In addition, it was found Dugbo treated chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gas cylinders on-site. In doing so he breached environmental laws as his permit did not include the treatment of ozone-depleting substances.

During sentencing Judge Clarke praised the EA for its investigation of the “sophisticated” crime and claimed the company had been “designed to conceal its intentions from everybody involved”.

Prosecution a result of “significant, co-ordinated investigation”

After the hearing, Dr Paul Salter, Senior Environmental Crime Officer at the EA, said: “Terry Dugbo’s illegal activities defrauded legitimate recycling schemes out of significant amounts of money. He masterminded and fabricated a flow of false paperwork that claimed his business was collecting and recycling vast amounts of waste electrical goods when in fact he wasn’t.

“This prosecution has been the result of a significant, co-ordinated investigation involving operational, enforcement and legal officers in the EA, and with help from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

“The length of the sentence handed out by the court today demonstrates the seriousness of Dugbo’s activities. Hopefully this case and the record sentence will act as a warning to others who commit waste crime that they will be pursued and, if convicted, could face serious punishment.”

Judge Clarke added: “What I found really amazing was the amount and complexity of the false paperwork. The scale of the investigation here was enormous. It took Dr Salter and his team nearly a year to go through the documents they seized in the search of the premises.”

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