The "Seinfeld" episode "The Bottle Deposit" from Season 7 features Kramer and Newman taking thousands of cans and bottles to Michigan so they can get a nickel more per container than they would in New York. Now it has happened for real again..
Michigan Law prohibits the return of bottles from out of state. In addition any bottle returns made cannot be in excess of $25. According to Newman and Kramer they had a total of $1000 in bottle returns.
In Maine three people have been accused of illegally cashing in more than 100,000 out-of-state bottles and cans for deposits, the first time criminal charges have been filed in the state over bottle-refund fraud, a prosecutor said. A couple that runs a Maine redemption center and a Massachusetts man were indicted this week for allegedly redeeming beverage containers in Maine that were bought in other states.
An estimated 90 million cans and bottles are fraudulently cashed in each year in Maine, costing beverage distributors $8 million to $10 million, said Newell Augur, executive director of the Maine Beverage Association.
In September 2007, a 15-person operation was busted for illegally smuggling millions of beverage containers from other states and cashing the deposit in Michigan. Police found over $500,000 in cash. Unlike Kramer's scheme, the operation sold the cans to merchants at a discount, who then redeemed them for full value.