DENVER—Colorado Attorney General John Suthers today announced Christopher Houtchens (D.O.B. 10/16/75) has pled guilty to being in possession of a forged instrument and was sentenced to 10 days in jail and two years' probation. He must also pay $17,189 in restitution to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). His company Colorado Tire Solutions, Inc. also pled guilty to forgery and was ordered to pay a fine of $10,000 to the Colorado Environmental Crimes sampling fund. Under the state-run Waste Tire Processor and End User Reimbursement Program, Houtchens filed inflated waste tire tonnage reimbursement claims.
“It is particularly galling that Mr. Houtchens was a member of the state’s Waste Tire Advisory Committee and tasked with preventing illegalities and improprieties with the program,” said Suthers. “His excuse for breaking the law was that it was alright to do so ‘because everybody does it.’ He is now an example for everybody who thinks stealing from taxpayers is acceptable,” concluded Suthers.
Houtchens as owner of Colorado Springs-based Colorado Tire Solutions falsely told CDPHE officials that shipments of his waste tire material were transported by Reyes Trucking of Arizona and sold to Sunrise Barricade and Safety, a Phoenix-based company, who in turn sold their supply to a company in Mexico. He later told CDPHE officials that he could not provide proof of his transactions and repeatedly changed his story claiming all transactions were in cash and that he could not provide documents or invoices. Later, when confronted by investigators from the Attorney General’s Office and the EPA, Criminal Investigation Division, Houtchens eventually confessed to his fraudulent schemes to commit recycling reimbursement fraud.
Houtchens and Colorado Tire Solutions were initially indicted by the State Grand Jury on six counts for stealing money and defrauding public servants of CDPHE on May 30, 2013. In June, he resigned from the Waste Tire Advisory Committee.
The Office of the Attorney General Environmental Crimes Unit worked with the United States Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigations Division, members of the Colorado Environmental Crimes Task Force and the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. To report an environmental crime visit www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov
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