Chicagoland recycling exec pleads guilty to landfilling hazardous waste

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The Chicago Heights location of Brian Brundage’s company, Intercon, at 1001 W. Washington Ave. | Google Street View

A Chicagoland executive’s scheme to dump thousands of tons of hazardous electronic waste in landfills instead of recycling centers, and to pocket the proceeds, fell apart Tuesday as he entered a guilty plea in federal court.

The former owner of two suburban recycling companies, Brian Brundage, 46, of Dyer, Indiana, is now facing up to 25 years in prison for two separate counts of wire fraud and tax evasion, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.

Brundage admitted to evading $743,984 in federal taxes by concealing the income he earned by reselling electronic waste meant for recycling, and from paying himself money that he recorded as businesses expenses over the course of 10 years, according to the plea deal.

Brundage owned two companies, Intercon Solutions Inc. and EncironGreen Processing LLC, which advertised themselves as environmentally conscious ways for corporations and government clients to recycle their electronic waste, the plea deal stated.

The reality was that Brundage’s companies stockpiled, landfilled or resold the hazardous waste for a profit to companies that shipped the materials oversea, according to the plea agreement.Some of the material he couldn’t resell was cathode-ray tubes, or computer monitors, which contain potentially hazardous amounts of lead.

At least a thousand of these monitors accumulated outside Intercon’s building in Chicago Heights, according to the plea deal. Brundage told his employees to clear the yard, which included smashing the monitors with heavy equipment and landfilling the waste.

Another part of Brundage’s scheme was to resell a shipment of calculators that he was paid to recycle, the plea deal stated. Between 2008 and 2015, he obtained $2.4 million by reselling calculators that were marked for recycling.

Brundage hid the profits from the IRS by redirecting the money to pay for personal expenses, including credit card bills, payments on a personal loan, reimbursements to his housekeeper, jewelry purchases and payments to Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana, according to the plea deal.

Brundage was indicted in Dec. 2016 on five counts of income tax evasion, four counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud. His sentencing date was scheduled for Feb. 27, 2019.

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