Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.

Man could face felony charges in bottle return scam

Michigan's bottle bill allows individuals returning eligible bottles to receive a $.10 deposit for each glass, plastic, metal or paper container returned that meets the requirements, which include being under a gallon. While another state offers the same rate for bottles over 24 ounces, Michigan is the only state that offers this rate for bottles of any size that are eligible.

Because of the high rate offered by the state, it was seen as a risk that people would attempt to bring bottles in from other states or try to redeem bottles that were otherwise not eligible. Because of this, Michigan law allows for anyone convicted of an attempt to return at least 10,000 ineligible bottles to be punished by a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison sentence of up to five years.

One man could face such sentencing if he is convicted after being charged with a bottle return scam. The man was stopped by State Police for speeding, say authorities. The officer said during the stop, he noticed that the man had a large number of bottles in his vehicle, which was rented. The officer reportedly became suspicious and investigated the matter further.

Law enforcement alleges that the man had a plot to return over 10,000 bottles in Michigan. Those bottles were not purchased from Michigan stores, however, making them ineligible.

The return deposit on bottles is a great way for families to save a bit of money while positively impacting the environment. It's also a great way for organizations to work on fundraising, but you have to be careful and keep all efforts legitimate. If you are accused of a felony under the bottle bill, a criminal defense is important because those are serious criminal charges.

Source: Livingston Daily, "Man busted with 10,000 bottles in return scam," Lisa Roose-Church, June 14, 2016

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