One of the more memorable Seinfeld episodes involves Kramer and Newman loading up Newman’s mail truck with bottles and cans and trekking to Michigan to get back double the deposit they would have received in New York. While it makes for funny TV, it’s not as hilarious to a couple in Maine who went on trial this week for redeeming a truck load of empty bottles and cans that had been brought from New Hampshire.
Prosecutors allege that the couple paid out deposits on 56 bags of empty bottles and cans a New Hampshire man brought to their redemption center in Maine in March 2010. If they knew the recyclables came from out of state — meaning that no deposit was ever paid to Maine — they would have violated the law by receiving the handling fees for each container.
The state had set up surveillance on the New Hampshire man, the owner of a sports complex, after receiving a tip that he was cashing in on the empties by driving them across state lines.
The investigation led authorities to the redemption center, which prosecutors allege illegally redeemed out-of-state recyclables for two years, effectively stealing $10,000 from the state.
In addition to the New Hampshire sports complex, a former employee at the redemption center testified earlier this week that he received several hundreds of dollars from his bosses for bottles and cans he brought to the center from his home in Massachusetts. However, he also testified that his employers never asked him where he was getting the empties from.
The couple’s attorneys says his clients were not aware they were redeeming out-of-state empties. The owner of the sports complex did fill out a form declaring that the bottles and cans were from Maine.
Illegal bottles came in, but did center owners know? [Portland Press Herald]
Thanks to Steph for the tip!