Former ECUA recycling manager arrested, charged with stealing over $510K

Last week, the former manager of the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority’s Materials Recycling Facility was arrested for stealing over $510,000 worth of recyclables from ECUA and allegedly funneling the proceeds to a shell company he owned.

According to the arrest report, Jarrell Lamar Reynolds was hired by ECUA in September 2018 to run the MRF at the Perdido Landfill: “ECUA believed that hiring Reynolds would increase the efficiency of the the recycling operation and increase their revenues through the introduction of news customers for their recyclable material.”

On Dec. 5, 2018, Reynolds chartered JAT Recycling in Georgia. He allegedly used the company, of which he is the sole officer according to the report, to receive funds from three ECUA customers and converted the sales to his personal use. From the report, it appears the management of two of the vendors were “led to believe that JAT was acting as a broker between ECUA and their companies.”  Instead of keeping a commission for its work, JAT kept all the proceeds.

Reynolds left his position suddenly in January 2019 after a ECUA auditor began to ask questions. Reynolds/JAT promised to make payments to ECUA in emails.

Bank records showed the three vendors paid $510,685 to JAT Recycling from Oct. 15, 2018-Feb. 20, 2019. The payments were for recyclable materials taken from the ECUA facility. Reynolds withdrew $482,330 from the account up to March 4, 2019. He made a down payment on a 2016 Porsche during that period.

When the ECUA assistant director of finance sent an invoice to JAT Recycling in March 2019, the utility got his reply: “Payments are pending due to the criminal investigation of Jarrell Reynolds. All commodities were legally sold to JAT Recycling and we take full accountability of funds due. Please cease and desist all criminal actions against Jarrell Reynolds so we can move forward with getting this paid.”

That was the last correspondence between ECUA and JAT Recycling, according to the arrest report.

Reynolds posted a $100,000 bail bond and was released Nov. 5.