Helpful Information Regarding Retail Fraud and Shoplifting

By May 29, 2014 December 31st, 2019 blog post

Retail Fraud Attorney

Effectively Defending Clients Charged with Shoplifting in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb Counties and Throughout Southeastern Michigan

Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyers

What is retail fraud?

Retail Fraud Defense Attorney

No matter what the amount of the item allegedly taken or concealed – the potential penalties for retail fraud and shoplifting are the same: hefty fines, jail time, excessive probation conditions, and civil restitution.

Retail fraud, otherwise known as shoplifting, is when a person takes or conceals something that is offered to the public for sale. It does not matter if the individual left the store with the item. The only requirement for retail fraud is that the accused altered, transferred, removed and replaced, concealed or otherwise misrepresents the price of an item with the intent to steal or illegitimately get something of value.

Michigan Compiled Laws 750.356c Retail fraud in first degree.

A person who does any of the following in a store or its immediate vicinity is guilty of retail fraud in the first degree, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00 or 3 times the value of the difference in price, property stolen, or money or property obtained or attempted to be obtained, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine:

  • While a store is open to the public, alters, transfers, removes and replaces, conceals, or otherwise misrepresents the price at which property is offered for sale, with the intent not to pay for the property or to pay less than the price at which the property is offered for sale, if the resulting difference in price is $1,000.00 or more.
  • While a store is open to the public, steals property of the store that is offered for sale at a price of $1,000.00 or more.
    With intent to defraud, obtains or attempts to obtain money or property from the store as a refund or exchange for property that was not paid for and belongs to the store, if the amount of money or the value of the property obtained or attempted to be obtained is $1,000.00 or more.

A person who commits a retail fraud and who has 1 or more prior convictions is guilty of felony retail fraud in the first degree.

Michigan Compiled Laws 750.356d Retail fraud in second or third degree.

A person who does any of the following in a store or in its immediate vicinity is guilty of retail fraud in the second degree, a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $2,000.00 or 3 times the value of the difference in price, property stolen, or money or property obtained or attempted to be obtained, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine:

While a store is open to the public, alters, transfers, removes and replaces, conceals, or otherwise misrepresents the price at which property is offered for sale with the intent not to pay for the property or to pay less than the price at which the property is offered for sale if the resulting difference in price is $200.00 or more but less than $1,000.00.  While a store is open to the public, steals property of the store that is offered for sale at a price of $200.00 or more but less than $1,000.00.  With intent to defraud, obtains or attempts to obtain money or property from the store as a refund or exchange for property that was not paid for and belongs to the store if the amount of money or the value of the property obtained or attempted to be obtained is $200.00 or more but less than $1,000.00.

A person who does any of the following in a store or in its immediate vicinity is guilty of retail fraud in the third degree, a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00 or 3 times the value of the difference in price, property stolen, or money or property obtained or attempted to be obtained, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine:

  • While a store is open to the public, alters, transfers, removes and replaces, conceals, or otherwise misrepresents the price at which property is offered for sale, with the intent not to pay for the property or to pay less than the price at which the property is offered for sale, if the resulting difference in price is less than $200.00.
  • While a store is open to the public, steals property of the store that is offered for sale at a price of less than $200.00.
  • With intent to defraud, obtains or attempts to obtain money or property from the store as a refund or exchange for property that was not paid for and belongs to the store, if the amount of money, or the value of the property, obtained or attempted to be obtained is less than $200.00.

Consequences of Retail Fraud

Shoplifting and Retain Fraud Information

At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., we know the negative impact a retail fraud conviction can be life-changing. Many people are under the misunderstanding that retail fraud will “fall” of a person’s criminal record after some time. This belief is not true. A retail fraud conviction will stay on a person’s criminal history forever unless it is expunged or the conviction is set aside pursuant to MCL 780.621. An expungement takes a minimum of 5 years and the judge is free to deny the expungement motion.

If the property in question is valued under $200.00, the maximum jail sentence is 93 days. If the value is between $200 and $1,000, the maximum is raised to 1 year in jail. For felony retail fraud, the maximum possible sentence is 5 years in prison.
Because retail fraud is considered to be a crime of dishonesty, a conviction can have life-long consequences. This type of conviction can result is a loss of employment, changes in child custody, revocation or the inability to get a professional or medical license, loss of public benefits, denial of admittance to college or a university.

Representation of Clients Who are Not US Citizens

If you are not a United States Citizen, a green card holder, or a legal or illegal immigrant, the consequences of a retail fraud conviction can be even greater to you. Retail fraud is considered a “crime of moral turpitude” and can result in deportation or the inability to return to the United States. When someone who is facing potential removal from the United States hires us, we understand that the consequences of a conviction are higher than ever. We have represented countless clients under these circumstances and we know precisely what must be done to help you! Our highest priorities are to keep you out of jail, keep a conviction off your record, and to reduce or eliminate any consequences to your status in the United States.

How We Can Help You

If you have been charged with shoplifting or a probation violation for retail fraud, call us as soon as possible. Our highest priority is to get your case dismissed and we will do everything possible to make that happen. When a dismissal is not possible, we will aggressively seek a reduction in the charges and will minimize the impact the charge will have on your life. We can always find a way to help, even when the evidence seems overwhelming. Every case is defensible one way or another.

Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers

At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. we represent individuals charged with all types of retail fraud (price-fixing, shoplifting, price switching, returning stolen products, etc…). There may be options in your case that will significantly reduce the impact of the charges or conviction. There are programs that an experienced Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney can help you get that will keep a conviction off your record like the First Offender Program, Pretrial Diversion, Delayed Sentence under MCL 771.1, Advisement, Holmes Youthful Training Act (HYTA) and more.

No matter what the charge against you, our attorneys will work tirelessly and fearlessly to seek the best possible resolution of your case. If you have been charged with retail fraud in Michigan, please do not hesitate to call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., for a free consultation. If it is possible to help you, we will find a way. Call (248) 263-6800. If you would like a Michigan Retail Fraud Attorney to promptly contact you, please fill out a Request for Assistance Form.

“We Are Not Afraid to Win”
LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

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