Law­mak­ers push to pun­ish can smug­glers

The Washington Post Sunday - - POLITICS & THE NATION -

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.

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