A group of men who made and sold counterfeit garbage bags in cities in Belgium was sentenced to up to four years in jail by the Mechelen correctional court on Wednesday.
The group of ten men made false garbage bags in Poland and sold them in Mechelen, Antwerp, and Brussels for 17 months in 2014 and 2015.
The ten men, three of whom were absent from the trial, were prosecuted on account of document forgery. The court ruled that as official garbage bags from a city or municipality are legally official documents, the sale of counterfeit garbage bags is the same as faking an official document, reported Nieuwsblad.
Suspicions were first aroused when Ivarem, the inter-municipal company in the Mechelen region, reported to police that fake garbage bags were being used during garbage collection. An investigation was launched and the men were identified. Large numbers of false garbage bags were found during searches of the men’s homes.
Belgium uses a system of colour-coded bags, which are widely sold in supermarkets and smaller shops, to sort its trash.
It is unclear exactly how many false garbage bags were used.
The city of Mechelen, which suffered the biggest losses as a result of the fraudulent operations, has received material compensation of €150,000 and €2,500 for image damage.
The Brussels Times