Sentencing comes down in $400,000 pop can scam

Photo Credit: Carol

A 70 year old Flint man was sentenced this week for returning more than ten thousand pop cans and bottles to illegally collect on Michigan’s ten cent bottle return.

State officials say John Custer Woodfill partnered with an Indiana scrap dealership that bought uncrushed cans from residents at 60 – 80 cents per pound.

Andrea Bitely is the press secretary for Attorney General Bill Schuette.  

“Folks would bring uncrushed cans in the state of Indiana to a scrap dealer and then Mr. Woodfill would take those cans up to Michigan and return them. He got so creative that he was making phony labels and barcodes so he could make sure that he could return them in Michigan.”


Bitely said an informant tipped the Michigan State Police to Woodfill’s operation. By the time he was caught, she said, Woodfill had collected over 400 thousand dollars in returned bottles.


Bitely says Woodfill’s sentencing included surrendering the van and trailer he used to transport cans into Michigan.


“Mr Woodfill was sentenced and he was sentenced to 3 years of probation and he will be forced to surrender stock he has with pepsi, which is kind of funny given the situation he’s in. He’s also going to perform 450 hours of community service and pay 400 thousand dollars in restitution.”

Woodfill is suspected to have been running the scam since as early as 2012.