A Westport-based trash hauler pleaded guilty in federal court on April 11 to mail fraud charges related to a long-running scheme that defrauded the operator of the Fall River Landfill out of approximately $473,000 in disposal fees.

Stephen P. Aguiar, Jr., 47, of Westport, is one of the owners and operators of Cleanway Disposal & Recycling, Inc., a trash removal and recycling company, and JS Aguiar Enterprises, Inc., a construction and equipment rental company.  A multi-agency investigation found that Aguiar contracted with the company operating the Fall River Landfill to dispose of trash at the landfill; however, the rates he paid the landfill varied depending on where the trash originated.  Aguiar paid one rate to dump trash collected from his private clients located in Fall River and a higher rate to dispose of trash collected from his private clients located outside of Fall River. In addition, Aguiar also had a contract to collect trash from the Fall River Housing Authority (FRHA) and dispose of the trash at the city’s landfill. The company operating the landfill allowed the City of Fall River to dispose of trash collected from FRHA properties at no charge. 

Aguiar admitted that between 2009 and 2014, he misrepresented the source of a significant portion of the trash he disposed of at the landfill.  Specifically, he falsely claimed that the trash was from the FRHA when it was actually from his private clients.  Aguiar’s misrepresentations allowed him to avoid paying a fee to deposit his private clients’ trash at the Fall River Landfill, thereby defrauding the landfill of approximately $473,000 in revenue.

On April 11, 2017, Aguiar pleaded guilty to three counts of mail fraud.  Sentencing is scheduled to take place on July 17, 2016.

The Massachusetts Inspector General’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General investigated the case. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office.

For more information, please contact Jack Meyers at (617) 722-8822 or at John.Meyers@state.ma.us.

For additional information about Aguiar’s conviction, see the U.S. Attorney’s Office press release at: Owner of Trash Company Pleads Guilty to Fraud.