What is Retail Fraud?

Criminal Law
What is Retail Fraud?

What is Retail Fraud?

by Van Den Heuvel Law Office

Retail fraud is the legal term for shoplifting. Suppose someone in Michigan removes property such as clothing, candy, food, or toys from a public retail store. In that case, they can face charges for retail fraud. If the person who took something is an employee, they will face embezzlement charges. Both of these charges are criminal, not civil charges. If convicted of retail fraud, you could be subject to severe penalties such as a criminal record, hefty fines, and a criminal record. A criminal record will follow you for the rest of your life, impacting your chances of employment, housing, and even public aid. 

If you have been charged with retail fraud in Michigan, you need an advocate on your side who will use every resource possible to obtain the best outcome possible. At Van Den Heuvel Law Office, our criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience representing clients charged with retail fraud. 

Penalties for Retail Fraud Convictions in Michigan

If you are convicted of retail fraud charges in Michigan, you might face a misdemeanor sentence of 93 days or up to a four-year felony sentence. The difference lies in if you have had previous retail fraud convictions and the value of the property you are accused of taking. The higher the value, the more severe the consequences. If the goods you allegedly took have a value of more than $1000, you will likely be charged with 1st degree retail fraud. Those that have previously been charged with retail fraud will likely face 2nd degree retail fraud charges. 

What Happens After an Arrest or Citation for Retail Fraud?

Typically after being caught shoplifting, the accused will receive a citation and notice of trespass that prevents them from legally returning to the store, shopping center, or mall that is accusing them of taking goods. Often, they also receive what is known as a civil demand from the store, requesting that they pay a fine directly to their corporate headquarters. This fine isn’t assessed as part of the criminal case and doesn’t impact the outcome of the charges. It’s only a fine that the store is requesting be paid based on the harm you brought upon them.

Defenses for Retail Fraud

Sometimes people who have been charged with retail fraud merely forgot to pay for something or that they had another item in their cart. They may have been distracted or thought they had properly scanned the item when in reality, they didn’t. It can be difficult for the prosecution to prove a lack of intent under these circumstances. In these cases, you need a strong legal defense team who can defend you in court. 

Charged with Retail Fraud? You Can Rely on the Van Den Heuvel Law Office

Anyone charged with retail fraud in Michigan should take the charges seriously. The best course of action is to hire an experienced shoplifting attorney who will tirelessly defend you against them. You will find those attorneys at our firm. We go to great lengths to develop the most appropriate defense for your charges and aggressively fight to seek justice on your behalf. We know that there is a lot at stake, and you deserve dedicated representation. Contact us today to schedule your consultation. The sooner you reach out, the more we can do to help defend you.



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