CANTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. - A man was sentenced to two and half years in prison Friday for his part in an intricate scam involving electronic waste.
Computers at home or work could also be involved in this scheme that investigators say stretches all the way from Canton Township to Egypt.
The scheme involves counterfeiting and disposing hazardous waste, making it the first e-waste conviction in the country.
Mark Glover, 44, walked out of federal court knowing he will have to spend the next 30 months behind bars and pay a fine of more than $2 million.
Glover pleaded guilty to trafficking in counterfeit goods and illegally storing and disposing of hazardous waste.
The toxic trail of deception started in Canton Township at Discount Computers Incorporated, where Glover would buy computers from businesses who were wanting to get rid of the waste.
"There is a market for this kind of product, whether it is getting the precious metals out of it or resale of those computers," said William Hayes, Homeland Security Investigations.
According to investigators, between May 2007 and July 2011, Glover exported used cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors to foreign countries, including Egypt.
Because Egyptian Customs did not permit the use of monitors more than five years past the date of manufacture, Glover and his crew created counterfeit labels and attached them to the monitors before they were exported.
"By counterfeiting these labels, he was able to export these monitors that were no longer wanted in the U.S., but had a value in Egypt," said Hayes, "And he profited to the tune of $5.5 million."
Homeland security investigators, along with investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency, worked on this landmark case.
"It's something our agency is taking very seriously," said Carol Paszkiwwicz, E.P.A Criminal Investigations.
Stacks and stacks of computers were found not only in Glover's Canton Township warehouse, but he also left toxic waste at warehouses in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Missouri.
"I believe there were more than 300 shipments that went to Egypt between 2007 and 2011," said Paszkiwwicz. "The monitors and computers themselves contain toxic elements, such as lead and heavy metals. Those heavy metals can do severe damage to your nervous system."
Paszkiwwicz says the hazard was here in the U.S., as well as in foreign countries where the computers were dismantled for their parts many times by children.
"It can also leach into your ground water and the air, and that is especially dangerous," said Paszkiwwicz.
Glover has gotten his share of bad publicity and headlines, such as some articles complaining about him and the business of the ripoff report.
A photo of Glover in front of a pyramid is also mentioned in the complaints in how Glover did business.
"He knew what he was doing in my opinion, and certainly he has pleaded he knew what he was doing," said Hayes. "He had a system and it worked well. That's why he made $5.5 million."
How do consumers, schools and businesses make sure they are depositing their computer the right way with a reputable company?
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