By Joe Swickard
Detroit Free Press
MICHIGAN — A get-rich scheme played for laughs on classic primetime TV was run for real, authorities said today, in announcing the break-up of an alleged racket that cashed in big time on Michigan’s bottle deposit law.
Fifteen people in Michigan and Ohio — the alleged smugglers as well as merchants — were charged in felony warrants with bundling millions of out-of-state cans and redeeming them for the dime-apiece deposit in Michigan. State, local and federal agents arrested at least 13 suspects and seized more than $500,000.
“A half-million in cash is not 'Seinfeld' humor,” said Matt Frendewey, spokesman for the Michigan Attorney General, referring to an episode of the comedy show with a similar theme.
Investigators alleged that millions of foreign cans were collected, crushed and packaged in plastic bags approved for packaging Mand sold at a discount to Michigan merchants who then redeemed them. The state pays bulk redemption by weight.
Copyright 2007 The Detroit Free Press
Group ran 'Seinfeld'-like can caper, officials say