A Leeds businessman has been jailed for a record seven and a half years for defrauding the recycling industry out of £2.2million.
Terence Solomon Dugbo, 45, of High Ash Avenue, Alwoodley, falsified paperwork to illegitimately claim that his Leeds-based firm TLC Recycling Ltd had collected and recycled more than 19,500 tonnes of household electrical goods in 2011.
A major Environment Agency investigation found that his firm had never handled such amounts, and had claimed money from Government-backed recycling schemes for collections from some properties that did not exist.
After a seven-week trial he was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud, acting as a company director while disqualified and breaching an environmental permitting condition.
Dugbo was handed a record sentence for an environmental crime at a hearing at Leeds Crown Court on Friday.
The Environment Agency investigation uncovered records which showed vehicles supposedly used by the firm were in use in other countries.
Paperwork also revealed that a moped was said to have carried waste 42 times, and on one trip hauled 991 TVs and 413 fridges between Dugbo’s businesses.
Weights of individual items said to have been collected were also exaggerated, with fax machines logged as weighing 47kg and drills at 80kg.
During the sentencing, Judge Neil Clarke, who disqualified Dugbo from acting as a company director for 12 years and granted a request under the Proceeds of Crime Act to recover some of the £2.2m, stated that Dugbo was “a risk to the public”.
He said: “What I found really amazing was the amount and complexity of the false paperwork. The scale of the investigation here was enormous.”
Dugbo has previous convictions for fraud and illegally exporting banned hazardous waste to Nigeria and had been disqualified from acting as a company director until November 2017 due to debts accrued at a previous company.
His involvement in TLC Recycling, which has since gone into liquidation, was in breach of this disqualification.
Dr Paul Salter, senior environmental crime officer at the Environment Agency, said: “Terry Dugbo’s illegal activities defrauded legitimate recycling schemes out of significant amounts of money.
“He masterminded and fabricated a flow of false paperwork that claimed his business was collecting and recycling vast amounts of waste electrical goods when in fact he wasn’t.”