NSW man fined for orchestrating a Seinfeld-style bottle deposit scam
Just days after it was announced that US McDonald’s outlets are set to take a leaf out of the Seinfeld book by selling only muffin tops, a Broken Hill man at the centre of a scheme which appears to have been ripped right from the script of the classic show has been convicted under South Australia’s Container Deposit Legislation.
As Adelaide Now reports, 36-year-old Zane Nervada Smith of Broken Hill has been convicted of attempting to obtain a recycling refund in South Australia for containers purchased outside of the state.
If this news seems familiar to you, it might be because this is almost the exact plot that was undertaken by the characters Kramer and Newman in a 1996 episode of Seinfeld, aptly-titled ‘The Bottle Deposit’.
The episode sees the characters attempting to collect a large number of drink containers from New York, which does not provide a recycling deposit refund, to the state of Michigan, which does. As one would expect, such a scheme does not result in a favourable end for the characters.
Similarly, Smith has now become the first person in South Australia to be charged under this legislation, receiving a fine of $800 in prosecution costs, as well as a $160 addition to the victim of crimes levy.
Smith had been accused of presenting roughly 45,000 beverage containers wrapped in bales to a recycling depot in 2016, before the owner of the facility grew suspicious of such a large quantity.
During the investigation, Smith claimed that while many of the containers were indeed his, a sizeable amount came from other individuals, including a man who responded to an ad placed in a local paper by Smith which stated, “all beer cans, top money paid; don’t tip them, cash them”.
“It was a dishonest, planned, course of conduct involving the placement of a newspaper advertisement and the sourcing of cans from numerous sources in a deliberate attempt to obtain a financial advantage in South Australia to which the defendant knew he was not entitled,” stated Judge Susanne Cole.
“Attempting to obtain a refund for non-funded containers is not only illegal and dishonest but also threatens the viability of South Australia’s CDL system,” echoed EPA Manager Investigations Steve Barry. “All of the cans have been forfeited to the EPA and the lot of them will be scrapped.”
Check out clips from the Seinfeld episode, ‘The Bottle Deposit’:
The article was originally published on Brag Magazine