Friday, September 20, 2019

Common Questions from People Charged with Retail Fraud

When people face Retail Fraud charges, they often have these questions:
“Is Retail Fraud a misdemeanor or felony?”
“How do I prove my innocence if I didn’t commit this offense?”
“Will I go to jail/prison if I’m guilty?”
“What is a Civil Demand Notice?”
“If I return the goods, will the whole criminal charge simply go away?”
In Michigan, Retail Fraud is generally defined as “the taking of property from a store that was open to the general public, and with the specific intent to deprive the store of ownership.” If a someone steals from a person, building, or home, it’s a distinct (separate) theft offense and not Retail Fraud. Only where there is a “retail establishment” involved (hence, Retail Fraud) is this charge appropriate. If the person is an employee of the establishment it would be Embezzlement and not Retail Fraud. 

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