San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón disclosed that one of San Francisco’s largest metal recyclers, Circosta Iron and Metal Company, Inc., will pay $500,000 as part of a settlement of a civil prosecution brought by the District Attorney.
“We can’t rely on enforcement alone to effectively stop metal thieves. We also have to make sure they can’t find an avenue to sell their stolen goods, and that requires recycling companies to do their part to deter metal theft by following the law,” said District Attorney George Gascón.
In recent years, California has seen an increase in metal theft from local governments, construction sites, public transit, utilities and foreclosed homes. In an effort to shut down the market for stolen metal, California has passed laws designed to prevent, deter and detect metal theft by imposing requirements on companies that purchase scrap metal. For example, scrap metal dealers must take steps to determine that the material they are purchasing was not stolen, and they must photograph, fingerprint, and record the identification of individuals selling certain types of scrap metal. Unless a statutory exception applies, dealers must also wait three days before paying the seller for the scrap metal.
Circosta owns and operates a single metal recycling facility in San Francisco. According to the complaint, Circosta consistently violated these anti-metal theft laws, including, for example, not holding payments for the required three days or buying scrap metal without requiring identification or other information from the sellers.
Under the settlement, Circosta must pay $500,000 in civil penalties and costs. Circosta will also be bound by a permanent injunction that ensures good business practices and prohibits future violations of the law. By entering into this injunction, Circosta is agreeing to procedures that will make it a model for California metal recyclers in the future.
This settlement is the third metal recycler prosecuted by the San Francisco District Attorney’s office since 2013. These three companies represent the vast majority of metal recycling in San Francisco.
Within the last 12 months, the District Attorney has brought civil enforcement actions against each of the largest San Francisco metal recyclers in an effort to put an end to the metal theft epidemic. The settlement with Circosta brings the total penalties and costs assessed against these companies thus far to $4.6 million dollars.
Published in the June 2014 Edition of American Recycler News