Owners of Seattle electronics recycler charged in fraud case

SEATTLE (AP) — The owners of a large Northwest electronics recycler are facing a federal conspiracy charge, after investigations found the company lied to customers by having mercury-containing flat-screen TVs shipped overseas instead of disposing of them safely in the U.S.

Charging documents filed in Seattle on Wednesday say Total Reclaim Inc.’s customers paid at least $1.2 million to have the material recycled from 2008 to 2016, but instead, the company sold the TVs to another company, knowing that company would ship them to China, where workers dismantled the monitors without safety or environmental protections.

The practice was uncovered almost three years ago, and Total Reclaim has since been fined by regulators in Oregon and Washington. In an emailed statement Wednesday, owners Craig Lorch and Jeffrey Zirkle said they have cooperated with authorities.