A federal grand jury has indicted two brothers from a Plymouth waste disposal business for allegedly reselling shipments of toxic chemicals from customers as scrap metal.
Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory G. Brooker announced Wednesday that for five years, Luminaire Environmental and Technologies Inc. charged its customers a "significant fee" for work it never performed.
The company obtained more than $1 million through the recycling scheme, authorities said.
According to the charges, business owner John D. Miller Jr. and manager Joe V. Miller told customers that they were lawfully disposing of fluorescent light ballasts — devices that electrically control fluorescent light fixtures and may contain toxic insulator polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) — at their Plymouth site.
Instead, from 2010 to 2015 the brothers "removed or otherwise obscured labels" from the containers holding the ballasts and pocketed additional money by fraudulently selling the toxic chemicals to nearby metal recycling facilities.
Although capacitors manufactured after 1979 no longer contain PCBs, many such devices remain in use in older buildings.
"It was important to customers that the PCB-ballasts be properly recycled because, among other reasons ... customers could potentially face liability in the event that the toxic chemicals were improperly disposed of and caused negative environmental effects," according to the charges.
The Millers allegedly falsely and fraudulently certified manifests that said the materials had been received by the company for proper disposal.
They "also at times caused the Luminaire's books and records to be falsified in order to conceal the true destination and disposal of customers' toxic chemicals," the charges said.
The Millers could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
The brothers were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, five counts of mail fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud and six counts of false entry in records.
They will make their initial appearances in U.S. District Court at a later date.