A curious thought occurred to an immigration officer as they strolled around the grounds of Alberta Reclaim and Recycling in February of 2013.
Plenty of bottle depots have bales of crushed cans lying around, but this seemed to be the only one where employees were taking these bales apart and putting them into garbage bags — rather than the other way around.
That officer’s suspicion would soon blow open what could likely be one of the most lucrative returnables scams in Canadian history.
It is the “largest we’ve ever seen,” said Jeff Linton, president of the board that manages Alberta can and bottle returns.
Although the case is under appeal, Alberta Reclaim and Recycle, operated by Johnny Ha and Shawn Diep, is accused of ripping off Alberta for more than $750,000 by cashing in more than eight million cans smuggled in from out of the province.