RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- Eight family members in Riverside County have been charged in what authorities say is a sweeping multi-million dollar recycling fraud scheme.
Manuela Rizo and Francisco Saenz stood before a Riverside County judge on Wednesday. With their attorneys and a court interpreter at their side, they waited to enter pleas during the scheduled arraignment.
Rizo and Saenz, along with six others, are accused of turning in tons of illegal recyclable bottles and cans. Authorities say the scheme involved hauling the materials in from outside the state and taking it to recycling centers in Riverside County.
According to the criminal complaint filed by California Attorney General Rob Bonta in July, the family trucked in recyclables from Arizona to California, where they could redeem the items for cash.
They are accused to exploiting California's redemption program, which offers 5-10 cents per beverage containers as an incentive to recycle for residents in the Golden State. Arizona doesn't offer a cash-for-recyclable program.
Over an eight-month period, the family is accused of hauling in nearly 178 tons of recyclables and scamming $7.6 million from the CalRecycle program.
The family is now facing a multitude of charges, ranging from recycling fraud, grand theft and conspiracy to commit a crime.
All eight co-defendants have been ordered back in court on Nov. 14th for their arraignment.