Scrap scam brings

CM Recycling's former owner
had paid bribes for metal

The former owner of a recycling company was sentenced to three years' probation with six months' home detention yesterday for his role in a bribery scheme involving the unauthorized sale of scrap materials from Pearl Harbor.

In Yong Chong, 44, who ran CM Recycling on Sand Island Access Road, had pleaded guilty earlier to one count of bribery.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Butrick asked U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor to give Chong credit for his cooperation in the investigation that targeted a former Pearl Harbor Recycling Center supervisor, Robert Aguigui.

Chong admitted that he paid bribes to Aguigui to illegally receive scrap metals, bypassing the competitive bid process. Aguigui sold the scrap metal without a contract or the Navy's knowledge. Although he issued receipts for the sale of scrap metal, he would then destroy the originals so there would be no record, prosecutors said.

Aguigui was responsible for soliciting bids from scrap dealers and recommending contracts for the sale of scrap metal from the Navy recycling center and engaged in "side deals" where he took bribes to sell scrap materials to two local vendors on more than two dozen occasions, Butrick has said.

Aguigui pleaded guilty last month to accepting a total of $120,000 in bribes between July 2000 and October 2003 from Chong and Wayne Chin-Yu Lu, former general manager for a Kapolei recycling company. Lu admitted to giving Aguigui cash for awarding a contract to his company.

Chong has agreed to pay restitution of $30,123 -- the amount he paid Aguigui for the materials. He was also ordered to pay a $3,000 fine.

Chong apologized to the court for his conduct, said defense attorney Rustam Barbee. "He, to a certain extent, was victimized by Robert Aguigui, who approached him and implied he needed to pay Mr. Aguigui directly instead of the Navy from now on."

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