Seinfeld Scam :Suspects Arraigned In Pop Can Smuggling Ring

Authorities in Detroit said they arrested 10 people and seized more than $500,000 in cash after breaking up a smuggling ring that collected millions of beverage containers in other states and cashed them in for 10 cents apiece in Michigan.The 10 people were arraigned on charges ranging from false pretense, a possible 5-year felony to running a criminal enterprise, a possible 20-year sentence.A total of 15 people were named in a 67-count warrant issued as part of Operation Can Scam, Attorney General Mike Cox said Wednesday. Some suspects were members of two smuggling rings based in Ohio and others were Michigan merchants who took part in the scheme, he said.Investigators alleged that millions of non-redeemable out-of-state cans were collected, crushed, packaged in plastic bags and sold at a discount to merchants who then redeemed them.Bulk redemption payments from the state are based on weight.

The probe recalled a 1996 episode of "Seinfeld" in which two characters learn about Michigan's 10-cent deposit law and head there with a truckload of 5-cent New York cans, hoping to cash in on the difference, before getting sidetracked."A half-million in cash is not 'Seinfeld' humor," Cox spokesman Matt Frendewey said.

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