Lawmakers push to punish can smugglers
Michigan lawmakers want to crack down on can and bottle smugglers they say are scamming Michigan for undeserved recycling refunds, corrupting a 10cent per container payback policy, which are estimated to cost the state millions of dollars annually.
“If you are intending to defraud . . . then you should be held accountable for it,” said Republican Rep. Kenneth Kurtz of Coldwater. He recently introduced legislation aimed at scammers who drive car- and truckloads of cans from nearby states that do not offer refunds to stores across the border in Michigan.
His legislation would make an attempt to return between 100 and 10,000 nonreturnable containers punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Current law sets penalties only for those who actually return fraudulent containers.
The state loses $10 million to $13 million a year to fraudulent redemptions, according to the most recent estimates from the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association.