Retail fraud is an allegation that can affect people from all walks of life. As one of the most commonly prosecuted theft crimes, retail fraud is certainly a concern for many retailers throughout the nation. In their efforts to minimize their losses, however, many retailers, corporations, and businesses are often overzealous in accusing consumers of theft. Although these concerns arise for legitimate reasons, false and wrongful accusations can be detrimental to those who stand accused.
Having represented many clients accused of various retail fraud crimes, I have learned that there are many instances in which defendants had no intention of committing an offense. As such, I offer my full support and experience to residents and families throughout Macomb County who may be grappling with the legal consequences of these serious allegations.
Depending on the circumstances involved in your case, you may face allegations of retail fraud in the first, second, or third degree. The definition and penalties inherent to these charges are as follows:
According to the Michigan Penal Code § 750.456c, a person commits retail fraud in the first degree when:
Property offered for sale is altered, transferred, removed and replaced, concealed, or otherwise misrepresented with the intent to not pay full value.
Property offered for sale is stolen.
Money is obtained or attempted to be obtained as a refund or exchange for property that was not paid for.
First-degree retail fraud is charged when the value of the property is $1,000 or more. A felony offense, this crime carries stiff penalties of up to 5 years imprisonment, fines of up to $10,000 or three times the value of the property, or both imprisonment and fines.
As defined in § 750.356d, second-degree retail fraud entails the same general actions as first-degree retail fraud, with the exception of property being valued between $200 and $1,000. A misdemeanor offense, retail fraud in the second degree can subject convicted offenders to imprisonment for up to one year and fines of up to $2,000 or three times the value of the property.
Third-Degree retail fraud is a misdemeanor offense reserved for crimes involving property valued at less than $200. Penalties include imprisonment for up to 93 days, a fine of up to $500 or three times the value of the property, or both.
Any allegation of retail fraud is serious. Severe penalties and fines aside, shoplifting is considered a crime of moral turpitude, and one viewed distastefully by many who conduct background checks, including prospective employers. Additionally, these charges and penalties can be enhanced by prosecutors when defendants have a prior retail fraud conviction on their record. No matter which allegation you face, retaining the experienced legal representation of a Macomb County criminal defense lawyer should be your first concern.
I have built my practice on serving my clients from the very moment they come to me in their time of need. As I place great emphasis on taking swift and proactive measures to protect your rights, freedom, and future, I strongly encourage anyone facing a retail fraud allegation to schedule a free case evaluation as soon as possible. Learn more about the charges you face and how my firm can be of assistance. Contact Bowden Law, PLLC today.