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House Panel Debates Bottle Return Fraud Penalties

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(credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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LANSING  (WWJ/AP) – George Costanza tried it on “Seinfeld,” but you might want to think twice before attempting to return out-of-state cans and bottles.

People in Michigan attempting to return out-of-state cans and bottles for a dime per container refund could face jail time, under legislation debated in a house committee.

The bills were taken up by the House Regulatory Reform Committee Tuesday. If passed, someone who attempts to return between 100 and 10,000 non-returnable containers could face a maximum fine of $1,000 or up to 93 days in jail.

Current law sets penalties only for people that have actually returned fraudulent containers.

Angela Madden of Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers said refunding cans not bought in the state hurts businesses. She said many businesses don’t have the machines to read the special mark or code on containers meant to prevent this fraud.

The committee did not vote on the legislation.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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