North Bergen beverage company fined $550,000 for allegedly violating New York’s “Bottle Bill” law

NEW YORK – The state of New York has hit beverage distributor North Bergen Beverage with a $550,000 penalty and a three-year suspension from selling in New York for allegedly violating its “Bottle Bill” Law, according to a press release from New York’s attorney general.
The complaint alleges North Bergen Beverage sold tens of millions of beverage containers over the past five years to New York stores and didn’t collect the nickel deposit as required by law, according to an announcement by the offices of Gov. Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The so called “Bottle Bill” law mandates that all retailers and distributors of bottled beverages in New York state pay a five cent deposit per bottle to their beverage dealers or distributors. The cost is passed on to consumers, who sometimes return the empty bottles to redeem the five cent deposit.
By forgoing the nickel deposits, North Bergen Beverage was able to illegally undercut its competitors and deny New York state millions in revenue it would have otherwise received when deposits are not redeemed by consumers, state officials said.
As part of the settlement, North Bergen Beverage will pay New York state $400,000 in new penalties on top of a previous payment of $100,000, as well as $50,000 for investigative costs. They will also suspend sales in the state of all products covered by the bottle bill for three years.
The penalty is the largest ever against a distributor for violating the law, the press release said.
“As we allege, North Bergen Beverage persistently, repeatedly, and knowingly broke the law,” said NY State A.G. Eric Schneiderman in the release.