Solihull brothers fined £400,000 after £1.48m WEEE fraud

Two brothers from Solihull have been ordered to pay nearly £400,000 following a £1.48 million fraud case involving waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

Jamil Rehman, 58, of Appleby Grove, and his brother Saleem Rehman, 57, of Buckbury Croft, previously received prison sentences following an Environment Agency investigation into a company called Electronic Waste Specialists Ltd (EWS) (see letsrecycle.com story).

The Environment Agency says Birmingham Crown Court (pictured) ordered Jamil Rehman to pay £295,966 and Saleem Rehman £100,000 (picture: Shutterstock)

The Agency says Jamil Rehman, who was the sole director at EWS, submitted fictitious claims for the recycling of approximately 10,600 tonnes of WEEE between January 2011 and December 2012.

EWS received payments totalling £1.48 million from a producer compliance scheme, Weeelight, which was formed by WEEE compliance firm AVC Weeeco Ltd in 2008.

Hearings at Birmingham Crown Court on 31 January and 2 February 2022 ordered Jamil Rehman to pay £295,966 and Saleem Rehman £100,000.

The Agency says Jamil Rehman admitted one charge of trading fraudulently between October 2011 and January 2012, having “benefitted in the sum of £1,481,908.85”.

Saleem Rehman admitted one charge of theft from the company, the Agency says, after he benefitted by £100,000.

Taxpayers’ money

Following the hearings, Neil Campbell from the Environment Agency’s national enforcement team said: “The case shows that the Environment Agency is not just content to prosecute for illegal waste operations but will also come after those who profit illegally to recoup taxpayers’ money spent on pursuing them.

The case shows that the Environment Agency will come after those who profit illegally to recoup taxpayers’ money

– Neil Campbell, Environment Agency

“Waste crime can have a serious environmental impact and puts communities at risk. It undermines legitimate business and the investment and economic growth that go with it.

“We support legitimate businesses and are proactively supporting them by disrupting and stopping the criminal element, backed up by the threat of tough enforcement as in this case.”

Fraud

According to the Environment Agency, EWS’s services were contracted by Weeelight as an approved authorised treatment facility.

The company created forged paperwork which detailed fictitious recycling, the Agency says.

The fraud came to light when the regulator’s National Investigations Team became suspicious of the paperwork that EWS, which operated out of a warehouse in Devon Street, Nechells, Birmingham, had submitted.

Saleem Rehman also stole approximately £36,000 from the company account, the Agency says, spending the money on foreign travel, school fees, and car hire.

EWS went into voluntary liquidation in 2014 with debts of over £116,000.

WEEE

Serious and organised waste crime is estimated to cost the UK economy at least £600 million a year, the Environment Agency says.

Defra is to launch a review of the UK’s WEEE regulations in June (picture: Shutterstock)

The UK’s producer responsibility system for WEEE sees producers delegate their responsibilities by paying into a compliance scheme which then secures recycling evidence.

The recycling companies provide the producer compliance scheme manager with paperwork as evidence of the materials they have recycled in exchange for a payment.

Defra is to launch a review of the UK’s WEEE regulations in June (see letsrecycle.com story).

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