"Each year, this type of activity defrauds the state approximately $13 million," stated Col. Peter Munoz, Michigan State Police director.
Some of the suspects were members of two smuggling rings that were based in Ohio and others were Michigan merchants who took part in the scheme. The authories stated that millions of out-of-state, non-redeemable cans were collected, crushed, packaged in plastic bags and then sold at a discount to merchants who redeemed them. Michigan redeems cans at 10 cents apiece but bulk redemption payments are based on weight.
The refund scheme defrauded the Michigan Bottle Deposit Fund whichs uses it's funds to pay for environmental cleanup efforts within the state. The charges some of the suspects face include maintaining a continuing criminal enterprize, a 20 year felony and fraud, a 5 year felony. Approximately $500,000 in cash was also seized by the authorities, only part of the profit that had been made by the scheme.
Who would have thought there was that much money to be made by smuggling cans?