El Paso County Business Owner Pleads Guilty To Fraud

A El Paso County business owner and member of one of Colorado's advisory committees has pleaded guilty for a recycling reimbursement fraud.

The Colorado Attorney General's Office announced the guilty plea Wednesday.

Christopher Houtchens, 37, owns the Colorado Tire Solutions in Black Forest, and according to Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, was a member of the Colorado Waste Tire Advisory Committee.

"[He was] tasked with preventing illegalities and improprieties with the program," Suthers said in a news release Wednesday. "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."

Houtchens filed inflated tire tonnage reimbursement claims under Colorado's Waste Tire Processor and End User Reimbursement Program, according to the Attorney General's Office, and lied about various transactions. He was initially indited on six counts for stealing money and defrauding public servants. After pleading guilty to being in possession of a forged instrument, he was sentenced to 10 days in jail and two years probation.

Houtchens resigned from Colorado Tire Solutions in June.