Articles Tagged with retail fraud

Retail fraud offenses are common, and getting caught for retail fraud occurs more frequently than ever before.  There are several reasons why arrests have increased:

1.  Many stores have policies to prosecute shoplifters when caught.  The rationale is that it acts as a deterrent for thefts occurring in the future.   However, people commit retail fraud for a variety of reasons (the belief they wont get caught, the thrill of stealing, the desire to obtain something not affordable, mental condition such as kleptomania, peer pressure, to support a drug habit or otherwise obtain money, etc., etc.).   Although deterrence is a goal,  retail theft crimes are still widespread.  Once caught, prosecutors and Judges are sometimes less inclined to give a break to someone charged with shoplifting because they want to protect the store, which provides tax revenue to the community.  This is also a symbiotic relationship with the Court, because retail fraud convictions lead to additional revenue to the Court in the form of court costs, fines, and probation supervision fees.

2.  Better store designs help prevent theft.  Store designs that maximize the visibility of the shopper to loss prevention, employees, and other shoppers have lead to more arrests.  Stores try to eliminate areas where hidden or blind spots exists in stores by having wider aisles, better sight lines, location of cash registers near exits, locating high theft items in more visible places, securing high theft items with locks or locked cabinets, and the use of better and the more widespread placement of cameras.

Retail Fraud (also known as shoplifting) can have serious implications on an individual’s reputation, employment or career, ability to get school loans or attend school, and immigration status (for persons that are not citizens).  There is the potential for incarceration, probation with conditions, community service, drug testing, economic crimes classes, counseling, fines, cost, and restitution for an individual who is convicted of retail fraud.

Retail Fraud always involves an allegation of a theft from a store which is open to the public for business at the time of the offense.  It can occur by either physically moving or concealing merchandise with the intent to steal, or altering or removing a price tag with the intent to defraud.

Retail fraud can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony offense depending upon the circumstances:

In defending persons accused of retail fraud, it is important to understand the procedures used by major retail stores in their investigations.  Mistakes in judgment sometimes occur – leading to false arrests. Sometimes the situation is misinterpreted by loss prevention and police officers due to cultural issues. Procedural errors can sometimes also lead to acquittal or dismissal of the case.  Having an experienced criminal lawyer, such as the lawyers at Hilf & Hilf, PLC, often results in receiving the best possible result, which often can include not having a conviction appear on a public record.  A theft related conviction can result in imprisonment, probation, loss of employment opportunities, loss of education opportunities, loss of gun rights, loss of money, immigration complications for non-citizens, and embarrassment.

Major retail stores have developed policies and procedures with respect to retail fraud with the goals of: reducing losses due to theft; avoiding litigation for false arrests, false imprisonment, injuries, etc.; reducing insurance expenses; and deterring theft.  Major retail stores include Sears, JcPenney, Target, Home Depot, Lowes, Macys, Kohls, Best Buy, etc.  The information in this blog is only intended to provide general information and does not represent the views, policies, decision making, or procedures of any particular store or company.
It is important to have an experienced criminal lawyer, such as Attorney Daniel Hilf of the law firm Hilf & Hilf, PLC, who understands the policies and procedures of loss prevention/asset prevention.  Knowledge of these areas can help build a successful defense, or a successful outcome, to your retail fraud case.

Retail Fraud (also known as Shoplifting) is a crime committed by persons of all religious backgrounds, races, ethnicity, ages, and income level.  Throughout the United States, over a half million retail fraud incidents occur each day.  To combat retail fraud, many stores spend a lot of money in: employing loss prevention officers; training employees to detect and address retail fraud; the installation of theft detection devices (for example sensors) or equipment (for example, locked cases) to reduce the amount of theft.

Loss prevention officers are trained to identify person likely to shoplift, and conduct surveillance prior to the commission of any offense.  The typical red flags for loss prevention officers are any or a combination of the following:

1.       Nervous demeanor;

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