No criminal charges will be filed against Health Sanitation, the Santa Maria trash company that shortchanged the county by as much as $1 million in recycling fees and charges. Sheriff’s investigators said they could find no evidence substantiating a whistleblower’s claim of premeditated criminal intent. Health Sanitation – which is owned by Waste Management, the nation’s largest trash company – has admitted to bookkeeping errors and underreporting its processing dues to the county to the tune of nearly $500,000; it volunteered to reimburse the county. But county officials suspect the true damage might be as high as $1 million. Sheriff’s spokesperson Erik Raney said the whistleblower – a former Health Sanitation bookkeeper – never produced the evidence of criminal misconduct he claimed he had. With the company on the hot seat, competitors are poised to pounce. Already MarBorg Industries – a David ever in search of Goliaths to slay – is vying for Health Sanitation’s contract with the City of Guadalupe, having submitted a bid $2 a month cheaper, per month per customer.
NO CRIMINAL CHARGES IN RECYCLING SCAM:
Originally published 12:00 p.m., June 29, 2006
Updated 3:10 p.m., July 20, 2006
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