Future of Northwest e-recycler unclear after fraud sentences

SEATTLE (AP) — The future of one of the Northwest’s largest electronics recyclers is uncertain after a judge sentenced its two founders to more than two years in prison each for fraud.

Total Reclaim Inc. recycles electronic waste from government and private organizations in Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

Its owners are Craig Lorch and Jeff Zirkle and they were convicted of secretly shipping more than 8 million pounds (3.6 million kilograms) of flat screen monitors to Hong Kong instead of safely recycling them in the U.S. as promised.

Prosecutors say the monitors were smashed apart by low-wage workers who didn’t have proper gear to protect them from exposure to mercury.

U.S. District Judge Richard Jones sentenced Lorch and Zirkle each to 28 month in prison.

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